Choosing the Right Power Steering Fluid

Choosing the Right Power Steering Fluid

Learn what power steering fluid is, why it's crucial for your customers vehicle, and how to choose the right type.

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So what is power steering fluid? Power steering fluid is hydraulic oil for the most part, with certain additives that are tuned for the automotive applications, but it is hydraulic fluid. In other words, you have a pump that creates pressure and that force is changed into energy at a steering rack by turning the wheels or extending the tie rods in either direction. What else is hydraulic on the vehicle? The automatic transmission. This is why some vehicles will actually specify transmission fluid to be used inside the power steering system, but there are exceptions. Certain vehicles out there, mostly Asian, have their own formulation of power steering fluid. So it is absolutely critical that you match the power steering fluid with the application. Some may use a different weight of oil, and if you use the wrong power steering fluid, it can change the feel of the steering, but most of all, it can damage the pump and the rack on the vehicle.

So it’s critical that when you look at the power steering fluid, either you look on the cap or inside the owner’s manual or service information to get the proper specification for the power steering fluid. This way you can avoid contaminating a system because the tolerances of these are very tight and just a little bit of a swelling of a gasket or other issues with the pump can cause issues that the driver will notice. It could be inconsistent power assist or noise from underneath the hood of the vehicle. So make sure that you’re looking up the power steering specification for a vehicle that you’re servicing. Is there a service interval for power steering? Yes, there is. Make sure you also check the service information for that on when it should be replaced, but just keep in mind that some vehicles, they have a unique formulation of power steering fluid. I’m Andrew Markel. Thank you very much.

This video is sponsored by Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper.

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