The purpose of the power steering system is to ensure easy handling and precise direction as a vehicle is being driven. The power steering system assists steering by guiding part of an engine’s power towards one front wheel or the other. Using a hydraulic system, the power steering wheel works by using a belt driven pump to provide pressure. This hydraulic pressure is produced by a rotary-vane pump driven by the vehicle's engine.
What power steering fluid does
The power steering fluid is the hydraulic fluid that transmits the power in the power steering system. There is no definite time frame on when to change power steering fluid. The general rule of thumb that states the power steering fluid should be replaced every two years or after running the vehicle for 24,000 miles. A licensed mechanic will recommend that the power steering fluid be changed if it looks light brown when he or she is doing a vehicle inspection. The vehicle’s user manual will give a more concrete time frame.
Changing the power steering system fluid requires draining or flushing out the old fluid and then adding fresh power steering fluid. Depending on the type of car, a specially designed power steering fluid may need to be used. A licensed mechanic will check that information before changing the power steering fluid. Changing the power steering fluid can be a time-consuming process, and it is important that it be done correctly. A licensed mechanic can change the power steering fluid quickly and easily.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Often Does My Car Need a Power Steering Fluid Service? and was authored by Keisha Page.