One of the best places to get your oil changed is one of your local quick lube shops. The prices are often unbelievably low and they can get you in and out in no time at all. If you regularly take your car to a shop like this, or even to a local mechanic, chances are at some point, the folks there have recommended changing power steering fluid in your car. Depending on your personality and how you care for your vehicle, this could have been welcome advice or a flustering proposition that seemed like an upsell.
Changing power steering fluid is something your car may or may not need. For most routine and preventative maintenance items, the best place to get information on their frequency and how to do them is in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Most owner’s manuals have a section on regular maintenance and will list the maintenance you should be doing at different mileage intervals. Most vehicles have smaller items every oil change, or 3,000-10,000 miles and then larger items at larger intervals, often between 30,000 and 100,000 miles. For the longest life from your vehicle and worry free operation, we highly recommend sticking closely to the manufacturers recommend maintenance at each mileage interval.
When it comes to changing power steering fluid, chances are your vehicle won’t actually have any recommended intervals for that. We have seen some vehicles make it to over 300,000 miles with the original power steering fluid installed while others have system problems related to dirty fluid in as little as 30,000 miles.
To help you decide when to change power steering fluid in your car, we’ve come up with 3 questions to ask yourself to help make the decision.
- What are your plans for the car?
- What sort of driving do you do?
- What does the fluid and the system look like?
The first thing to consider is what your plans are for your car. If you only intend to drive it for a few years, then trade it in for a new model, you’re probably safe to not change the power steering fluid. On the other hand, if you intend on getting the longest life out of your car, you may consider changing the fluid as often as every 30,000 miles.
The type of driving you do will also affect how often you should consider changing your power steering fluid. For example, if you drive a truck and often haul a trailer, all the turning of your wheels while backing can accelerate power steering fluid breakdown. If you live in a warm climate it can also lead to quicker degradation of your power steering fluid as high temperatures can lead to lubrication breakdown. If any of these scenarios sound like the environment you drive in, you may consider changing your power steering fluid often. On the other hand, if you live in a mild climate, drive lots of highway miles and don’t start and stop your engine often, you may be able to drive for 60,000 to 100,000 miles before changing power steering fluid without hurting anything.
Lastly, it’s important to see what the fluid and system look like. Most power steering reservoirs are clear but if not, you can open the cap and there should be a dipstick under the cap. Depending on the make a model of your car the fluid should be golden or red. No matter what the color, is the fluid should be bright and free of sludge, suspended particles or other contamination. Your power steering system should also operate quietly and be clean around the pump, fluid lines, and rack or gear. If you’ve noticed any noise when turning the steering wheel, it could be an indication that your current power steering fluid is losing its ability to properly lubricate the system or some of its antifoaming characteristics. If you see sludge build up around lines or seals, it could indicate that your current fluid as suspended abrasive particles or wear products that are starting to wear out those lines or seals. If you’re noticing any of these symptoms, you should consider changing your power steering fluid immediately, regardless of mileage to try and get things back to normal.
Before changing power steering fluid in your car, it’s important to choose the right fluid. There are endless choices from factory specific fluid, to automatic transmission fluid, to generic fluids made by lubricant companies. If you’re looking to quiet down your system, stop leaks, or keep your power steering system running properly for years to come, the best choice is BlueDevil Synthetic Power Steering Fluid. BlueDevil Synthetic Power Steering Fluid is compatible with ALL power steering systems and will condition seals and maintain optimal power steering system conditions.
When you’re ready to change the power steering fluid in your car, check out our article with instructions on performing a Power Steering Fluid Change.
You can also purchase BlueDevil Synthetic Power Steering Fluid at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributer
- DYK Automotive
- Fisher Auto Parts stores
- Auto Plus Auto Parts stores
- Hovis Auto & Truck Supply stores
- Salvo Auto Parts
- Advantage Auto Stores
- Genuine Auto Parts stores
- Bond Auto Parts stores
- Tidewater Fleet Supply
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts
- Any Part Auto Parts
- Consumer Auto Parts
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