Do I Need a Power Steering Flush?


The easy answer is if your vehicle’s owner’s manual says you need a power steering flush at a regular interval, then yes, you need a power steering flush at those particular mileages.  Since most of us don’t regularly look in our vehicle’s user’s manual it seems more likely that your mechanic, or the guys at the local quick lube shop said your vehicle could use a power steering flush.  Today we will talk about why it’s necessary to flush a power steering system, how mechanics determine its time for a flush and the process of how to flush power steering fluid.

What is a power steering system?

The power steering system in your vehicle is there to aid you in turning the wheels at low speeds.  Today’s vehicles are equipped with larger heavier and wider tires and wheels than older vehicles.  These tires are designed to grab the road to make sure you do not lose traction in a corner or during acceleration.  Without power steering, these road grabbing tires would be extremely difficult to turn without a school bus sized steering wheel, or the help of your power steering system.

The power steering system consists of a pump usually run by a pulley and belt to the crank pulley on your motor.  This pump pressurizes the power steering fluid which is then carried by a line to a power steering gear box, or a rack and pinion.  The steering gear, or rack and pinion, uses this high pressure fluid to help with the motion created by you turning the steering wheel, making it much easier to turn the wheels.  Once this high pressure power steering fluid has done its work to turn the wheels, it returns through a line to the power steering fluid reservoir near the pump.  Since there is very little motion or friction in the power steering system, the working fluid stays relatively clean and free of wear products.  Unlike your engine and transmission, there is so little wear in the system there is no filter to help keep the power steering fluid clean.

Over miles and time, small amounts of wear products will build up in your power steering fluid.  These wear products are bits of plastic, rubber and metal from inside the system that naturally wear off over time.  As these particles are pushed around in the power steering fluid, they can accelerate wear to many of the seals on components in the system.  Since there is no filter in your power steering system, the only way to remove these small particles is to remove the power steering fluid and add new, clean fluid.  This is called flushing the power steering system.

A good mechanic will recommend a power steering flush at the factory recommended intervals, or when the power steering fluid becomes dark brown or black.  Unless your vehicle gets heavy use like hauling, towing, or extensive idling, the factory recommended interval is usually a very safe interval.

How do I do a power steering flush?

There first method is to drain and refill the system.  Start by removing the lowest power steering line you can find, often at the steering gear, rack or cooling lines.  Allow the system to drain completely, which may be a while due to the viscosity of power steering fluid.  Once the system is drained, refill the power steering reservoir to ½ full.  As a friend starts the vehicle, add fluid to the reservoir to try and keep it half full.  You may experience foaming or bubbling as the air pockets in the system are pumped to the reservoir.  Once a steady level is reached, top off the reservoir and replace the cap.

Power SteeringThe second way is more difficult but exchanges more fluid and performs a true flush.  Find where the return line leaves the power steering gear or rack to return fluid to the power steering reservoir.  Remove it at the low point in the system.  Have a friend start the vehicle while you add power steering fluid to the reservoir to keep it at least ½ full and another friend watches the now open return line.  Power steering fluid should flow from that open port into your drain pan as the vehicle runs.  Once the fluid running out is clean and obviously new fluid, shut off the vehicle and replace the power steering return line.  Restart the vehicle to remove any air trapped in the system with the cap to the power steering reservoir removed.  Once no more bubbles or foam are in the reservoir shut off the vehicle, top off the power steering reservoir and replace the cap.  Before attempting this procedure, ensure you have plenty of power steering fluid and qualified friends.

IMPORTANT: Any time you are adding power steering fluid to your vehicle, make sure you use the factory recommended fluid.  Many cars take power steering fluid, but many use automatic transmission fluid or a variety of other working fluids that cannot be mixed.

Anytime you are doing a power steering flush, it is a good time to inspect the seals and hoses in your power steering system for leaks.  As a power steering system ages it is possible for the hoses to begin to slowly leak, or seals to wear down, dry or crack.  If any leaks or discovered, even a slow weep or potential leaks, add BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak to the new power steering fluid you add.  BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak is a power leak stopping agent that contains no particulate matter to clog, damage, or wear down your power steering system.  It also is not a petroleum distillate so it will not destroy the seals or hoses if it’s left in your system.  BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak will seal your power steering leaks and can stay in your power steering system preventing future leaks.


BlueDevil Products can be found on or at AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts, NAPA, and other major auto parts retailers.

47 responses to "Do I Need a Power Steering Flush?"


  1. Dallas Myers on August 13, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    My high pressure power steering hose in my 02 maxima is leaking. I know the blue devil oil leak works. Will the blue devil power steering stop leak work on my high pressure hose? It is a slow leak.

    • BlueDevil Pro on August 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm


      Unfortunately, BlueDevil is not intended to stop leaks from a high pressure hose. The product is designed specifically for rubber seals & gaskets.


  2. Alan on February 16, 2015 at 9:26 am

    My power steering pump was recently rebuilt after freezing up and breaking the belts. This is on a large truck ( not pickup ) and at first I could steer the wheels sitting still. After the fluid warmed up it would steer at a stand still. Otherwise it steered ok. We flushed the system only by draining it and took the pump off and unsealed it to find the bolt loose where the spring is. The bolt for the plates came loose also. Still even after all that it doesn`t steer at a stop unless I rev the motor. Mechanic says the return line has low flow. Could the steering gear box be gummed up and is there a simple way to flush it good ?

    • BlueDevil Pro on February 24, 2015 at 4:37 pm


      Thanks for your question about your power steering system. It is possible that when the pump originally locked up it sent debris into the rest of your power steering system that need to be removed. The best way to flush it is by using the manufacture’s recommended fluid. You can try removing the return line from the power steering fluid reservoir and directing it to a drain pan. Have an assistant ready to add more fluid to the power steering reservoir and start the engine and let it idle. Continue to fill the power steering fluid reservoir as it empties and catch the fluid from the return line in a pan. Do this until the fluid flowing out of the return line is clean and bright.

      Unfortunately you cannot use any solvents or cleaners to flush your power steering system or you could damage the seals and internal components of the power steering gear. If flushing the system with clean fluid does not solve your problem, the only solution is to replace your power steer gear as well.

      We hope this helps!


    • Kevin O'Neal on April 17, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I have a 2006 dodge ram 1500 pick-up and the power steering pump is grinding very loudly and the operation of it is not a very smooth fluid motion. The fluid level is always good however the color of the fluid is pretty dark. The pump is moaning pretty loudly all of the time. I’m wondering if maybe I am going to have to replace the pump before too long. Thanks.

      • BD Auto Pro on May 12, 2016 at 5:27 pm


        Thanks for your question about your 2006 Dodge Ram. It does sound like your power steering pump is going bad, probably the shaft bearings. That along with the dark fluid sounds like you might be in for a new pump and fluid flush. If you notice fluid leaking out around the pulley or the shaft, or the shaft starting to wobble, then you should consider changing the pump soon.

        Thanks again for your question!
        -BD Auto Pro

  3. Phil on July 19, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Is there a flush that can be run thru the lines to clean them out better?

    • BlueDevil Pro on July 20, 2015 at 10:22 am


      You should be able to take the vehicle to a local shop to have the Power Steering Flush done for less than $100.

      Thank You!


  4. jerry baruch on September 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    It has been recommended that I have a power steering flush and replace all belts and hoses. What should I expect the cost to be for parts and labor. I have a 97 Altima gxe with 83,743 miles. I am 83 years old and do about 2000 miles a year. Look forward to your reply.

    • BlueDevil Pro on September 23, 2015 at 3:59 pm


      The parts and labor costs varies so much across the country that it would be impossible for us to give you a proper estimate. There are a lot of different variables that go into what a shop is charging.

      Thank you!


  5. Len on October 3, 2015 at 1:54 am

    will flushing the power steering quite the pump from low level winning noise?

    • BlueDevil Pro on October 9, 2015 at 9:44 am


      A power steering flush should not cause your power steering pump to whine. We recommend checking the power steering fluid level as the pump will often times whine if the fluid is too low or too high.

      Thank you!


  6. Nigel on January 19, 2016 at 1:08 am

    I have a 2005 Nissan Titan with 135K miles on it. I had he 100K mile mx done to it at around 110K and at that time I was told I had a leak at my PS hose (didn’t specify which hose) but that it wasn’t critical as long as I monitored the fluid level. topped off the fluid at that time. in the last two years or so (the truck is now my secondary vehicle so I don’t use it that often) i’ve noticed the steering becoming increasingly difficult especially if I haven’t driven it for a while. I checked the fluid level today and noticed that it was still at the cold max. I drove it for about 30 mins and checked it again and it was at the hot max. Its been about 20K miles since I topped it off and the level hasn’t changed. However, the fluid was milky and brown when I checked it the first time and had tiny bubbles when I check the levels the second time.

    I’m told that because water has somehow made it into the system and a purge/flush should clear up all my issues.

    Do you agree?

    • BlueDevil Pro on January 28, 2016 at 11:33 am


      That diagnosis does seem correct. It sounds like either a little water got into your system, maybe through the leak point, or maybe the wrong fluid was added and is causing problems. Either way, a flush should clear things up. Make sure you refill your system with the recommended type of power steering fluid and you should be back to normal!

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  7. Amanda alkire on February 12, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I have a 2003 rendezvous i have loud noise when accelerate louder faster i go changed power steering still problem

    • BlueDevil Pro on March 3, 2016 at 12:36 pm


      Thanks for your question about your 2003 Rendevous. Based on your description the noise you’re hearing could indeed be a power steering problem. If that is the case, it should get louder as your engine revs up, but when your car shifts it should quite down again until the engine reaches a high RPM again. If the noise gets louder the car goes faster independent of engine speed you may have a bad wheel bearing. For more information about that, check out this article: .

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  8. Justin on March 14, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    I have a 2002 ford windstar and I just replaced a water pump ALONE so after a day and a half I got the new one and such and made a critical error by mistakenly place the return for ps onto coolant tank and of course coolant on ps????

    • BlueDevil Pro on March 30, 2016 at 7:22 pm


      Great job on doing the work yourself and catching the mistake. As long as your vehicle didn’t overheat, fixing your mistake should be as simple as flushing both systems thoroughly to remove the foreign fluid and add the correct fluid.
      -BD Auto Pro

  9. emmanuel mallari jr on March 20, 2016 at 9:32 am

    i have 1998 Jeep cherokee manual transmission and manual 4WD. due to breakage, whining and difficulty in turning left or right especially at parking, i have my my high power steering hose replaced but not the return hose. however, i can still hear the whining sound even at idle but not much. it gets louder when turning left or right at max. mechanics says my pump is on the way out so i replaced it too. still, the whining sound is there. plus, reservoir is overflowing from the cap after driving it for about an hour or so of driving. what could be wrong?

    • BlueDevil Pro on March 30, 2016 at 7:48 pm


      Thanks for your question about your Jeep Cherokee. The overflowing fluid could simply be due to your system being overfilled as it expands as your drive and the fluid heats up. If you have a new pump and high pressure hose, the whining noise could be an indication that some contamination entered your system when it had a leak causing a clog and abnormally high pressure. The clog could be in the steering gear or in the cooler lines. You could try flushing your system to remove the clog and quiet things down.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  10. Erik K. on November 6, 2016 at 3:20 am

    I have a ’94 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.2L at just over 153k miles, and occasionally on hotter days or if I have been driving for a few hours at a time my power steering will randomly stop working but then it starts working after I turn the steering wheel a few times or start driving again. I am concerned as to whether or not it is my pump or just a clog in the line or a leak. Any ideas as to what could be causing this issue?

    • BD Auto Pro on November 19, 2016 at 9:39 am


      Thanks for your question about your 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Based on your description, it sounds like the problem you’re having is either due to a clog somewhere in the system, or an internal failure of your steering gear box that is allowing the warm, less viscous power steering fluid to internally bypass the power side of your steering gear making you lose power steering momentarily. You could try performing a power steering fluid flush to see if that removes any clogs and solves the problem but you may end up need to replace the steering gear box.

      It is possible that the problem you’re having is due to the power steering pump, but that is less likely and would be accompanied by a whining noise or possible your engine belts squealing.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  11. Bill on December 19, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I have 2005 Honda Philot when i turn on the truck I hear grinding noise and there is no leakage after it heats the noise goes away should I get a power steering flush I noticed it’s dark and thick and is that’s why it makes noise

    • BD Auto Pro on December 19, 2016 at 6:40 pm


      Thanks for your question about your 2005 Honda Pilot. First, if you noticed your power steering fluid looking dark, it may be a good time for a power steering fluid flush to keep the system fresh and working correctly. Most of the time power steering problems are associated with whining noises rather than grinding noises. If it is a grinding you’re hearing it probably has more to do with your engine oil and lubrication system so you may consider checking your engine oil level and condition. If the oil is dark or low you should consider having it changed with the correct weight oil for the temperatures this time of year. Also, if you find a low level, consider adding BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak (available here: to stop whatever leak is causing the low oil level.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  12. Lynn South on December 29, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I have had many years experience with power steering on class 8 trucks. Power steering pumps have a flow control valve, which controls the flow to the power steering unit, as flow rate changes as engine speed changes. If this flow valve does not move freely, Power steering assist can be lost at idle speed, but may still work normally at higher engine speeds. A flush may or may not cure this.

  13. Bill Munger on February 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    I have a 1994 Dodge B-150 van. Recently the power steering has become difficult turning to the right but returns easily. The left seems fairly normal. The fluid in the pump was changed but not FLUSHED. The pump is very quiet when no whining or squealing. What do you suggest for my next step? A local repair shop suggested a FLUSH using some sort flushing agent, turning the steering to the left then to the right a minimum of 20 times, drain and refill. This doesn’t seem right after reading all of your cust. questions and replies. If you would reply, I would be great full. Thanks.

    • BlueDevil Pro on February 13, 2017 at 11:06 am


      Are you noticing a loss of power steering fluid? If not, a flush may exactly what the system needs. If you are not hearing a whining/squealing noise, and are really only having an issue when turning the wheel to the right side, then it does not seem to be an issue with the power steering pump. We recommend having the power steering flush performed to get rid of any kind of restriction or debris stuck in the system.

      Thank you!


      • Bill on February 16, 2017 at 5:32 am

        Thanks for the help,IT WORKED!!!!!

  14. Jeff on December 19, 2017 at 9:04 am

    I have a 1998 Mazda b2500, I did a front brake job with the truck jacked up. During that I turned the wheels all the way left and then right with the truck turned off. After I backed the truck out of the shop and turning the wheels I felt a shutter in the wheels. I pulled it back in the shop, jacked it up and with the truck running I kicked the left front tire. The tires started shuttering on their own for 5 to 10 seconds then stopped, indicating something wrong in the power steering. Could it be a bad pump? Or debris in the lines? I’ve never seen anything like it before.

    • BD Auto Pro on December 26, 2017 at 10:33 am


      Thanks for your question about your B2500. The symptoms you’re describing are a bit confusing but our guess would actually be a problem with the power steering rack or gear rather than the pump. If there is an internal leak in the gear it could cause the shuddering you’re experiencing.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  15. Brandon on February 13, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Have a 95 Buick park Ave. the steering is fine except at a low speed. It sometimes does not seem that there is power steering, as soon as the gas is tapped even slightly. It works as normal, till the next idle turn. Is it because my steering fluid is almost black needs flush or more the pump itself? Or rack?

    • BlueDevil Pro on February 14, 2018 at 9:19 am


      Thank you for asking about your Buick Park Ave. Based on your description, it seems as though your power steering fluid may be contaminated. Depending on the mileage and the service history on the vehicle, it does sound like a good candidate to have the power steering system flushed. Flushing the system and putting clean power steering fluid back in should alleviate the issue. Feel free to contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any other questions.

      Thank you!


  16. Kelly on April 8, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Your method you describe removing the return line starting the vehicle while a friend adds fluid and the pump sends the return old fluid into a bucket used to work on older cars 1980’s and 90’s but today modern rack and pinon they have higher pressure and I found on a Subaru I had the pump would empty the reservoir so fast I could not even keep up with it. The only thing I could do was jack the car up and run the steering wheel both directions until I see new fluid. Later I looked in the reservoir it still had old oil. The best way is to have a shop do it with a machine that pumps the fluid out.

  17. Mike Rush on April 27, 2018 at 8:49 am

    I have a 2001 Dodge Dakota that has a strange Power Steering problem. The P/S works fine when cold, but when it warms up, after driving a few miles, it gets extremely stiff. After much searching online, I’m at a loss. Would it be prudent to flush the system, or should I bite the bullet and replace the rack?

    And thanks for all the information. Great site!

    • BlueDevil Pro on April 27, 2018 at 3:40 pm


      Thank you for asking about your Dodge Dakota. Are you noticing a loss of power steering fluid? It is possible that has the vehicle warms up, the seals expand and allow for power steering fluid to leak out. If you are noticing a loss of fluid, we recommend using the BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak. You should expect to see results after approximately 100-200 miles of driving.

      Thank you!


  18. K. Gibson on May 1, 2018 at 1:11 am

    Will a power steering flush fix a leak in the pump? I have a leak in my pump and a mechanic is telling me that a flush will fix the leak. Is this true?

    • BlueDevil Pro on May 1, 2018 at 8:36 am

      K. Gibson-

      Flushing the power steering system would not fix/seal a leak in the power steering pump. If the pump has developed a leak, the only way to fix the issue would be to replace the pump.

      Thank you!


  19. jenny l Farr on July 10, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Whats the next step if that dont help?

    • BlueDevil Pro on July 11, 2018 at 8:16 am


      If you are still having an issue after flushing the power steering system, and you are not noticing a loss of power steering fluid, you may want to take the vehicle in to a certified ASE mechanic for a proper diagnosis.

      Hope this helps!


  20. Ken D on August 14, 2018 at 2:46 am

    I have a 2007 Ford Sport Trac with the 4.6 V8 and 180k. It has no leaks or loss of fluids of any type what so ever and steers fine until it gets hot. Then it feels like a stiff point when turning off of a straight line. It’s not a total loss of assist but more of a nuisance than anything. Purchased it last Dec. and it never did this until the hot weather got here! Suggestions? Thank you!

    • BlueDevil Pro on August 14, 2018 at 9:44 am


      Thank you for asking about your Ford Sport Trac. Based on your description, there is a chance there is a small leak in the system, allowing air to get in and creating a little stiffness when it gets warm out. If you are not having an issue upon startup, the fluid is most likely fine and wouldn’t require a power steering flush. We recommend using the BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak to help seal the small leak and return the power steering back to normal functionality.

      Thank you!


  21. Robert Rioux on September 20, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    I have an 06 Ford F150 5.4L and I replaced the my rack and pinion about 2 weeks ago and my seal is leaking on the left side. It still has a good amount of fluid in it , just under max fill line.

    • BlueDevil Pro on September 21, 2018 at 9:52 am


      Thank you for asking about your Ford F-150. Based on your description, you would be a good candidate for the BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak ( You will start by adding 1/3 of the bottle into your power steering reservoir and should expect to see results after approximately 100-200 miles of driving.

      Thank you!


  22. Glen McKenzie on December 13, 2018 at 11:07 am

    My 2004 Lincoln Navigator has a groaning sound coming from the power steering unit when cold. Would this unit have a filter and if so would you recommend cleaning and “O” ring replacement? Thanks so very much.

    • BlueDevil Pro on December 13, 2018 at 1:57 pm


      Thank you for asking about your Lincoln Navigator. The best place to start would be to flush your power steering reservoir, change the fluid and then double check to make sure the fluid level is correct. Having dirty/old power steering fluid or the fluid level too high or too low can cause the power steering pump to whine and make noise.
      If you are still experiencing the same issues after changing the fluid and topping it off to the proper level, then you may want to have your vehicle looked at by a certified ASE mechanic.

      Thank you!


  23. Mbongeni Zondi on April 7, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    My vehicle power steering is stiff and worse when cold

    • BlueDevil Pro on April 8, 2020 at 9:34 am


      Does the power steering fluid appear to be low? If so, we recommend adding the BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak. You will start by adding 1/3 of the bottle into your power steering reservoir, and should expect to start seeing improvement after 100-200 miles of driving.

      Thank you!


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