The steering wheel needs to be lubricated to function well and this is done by using the Power Steering Fluid.
The steering fluid can be changed when necessary although it can last a long time. Once the steering fluid is poured inside the fluid reservoir, how long does it last?
The power steering fluid can last between 3 to 5 years if it is never opened and 2 years or less once opened depending on the size and nature of the fluid reservoir.
Does Power Steering Fluid Go Down Overtime?
Yes, the power steering fluid can go down over time. Just like other fluids used by other parts of the engine, the power steering fluid reduces or goes down over time.
However, the power steering fluid differs from other fluids in that it can last for as long as 2 years all things being equal.
The power steering fluid can go down as a result of usage over time or leakage amongst other reasons.
If you come to realize that the steering fluid is leaking, immediate action should be taken to fix the leakage or you risk your car stopping suddenly while driving.
How Long Does Power Steering Fluid Last?
The length of time the power steering fluid will last depend on whether it has been opened or not and also how and where it is being stored.
If the container has not been opened it will last between 3 to 5 years, however, once opened the power steering fluid life span reduces to 2 years or less.
As earlier mentioned, where and how the power steering fluid is stored plays an important role in either reducing or maintaining its life span.
Steering fluids that are stored in cool and dry places will last longer than the ones stored and left in direct contact with sunlight or other hot places. Hot temperature tends to reduce the effectiveness of the fluid fast.
Does Power Steering Fluid Expire or Go Bad?
Power steering fluid can expire or go bad. Despite the importance of the steering fluid in lubricating a vehicle’s steering wheel, once it expires or goes bad, it loses its effectiveness and becomes useless.
Like most off-the-shelf products, the power steering fluid has an expiration date which is usually between 3 to 5 years from the time of production, however, this is provided it has not been opened. Once opened, the fluid goes bad faster.
When the power steering fluid is bad you can easily tell by the change in color, the fluid color is usually red, clear, or pink. Therefore, if there is a change in this color to either black or brown that’s a sign that it is bad.
Apart from a change in color, other signs of an expired or bad power steering fluid are;
- Metal shavings in the fluid as a result of rust and a sign that serious damage has already been done
- Strange noises coming from the steering system
- When metallic parts of the steering system get corroded
A lot of things can cause the power steering fluid to go bad with the main cause being ‘Contamination’. Brake fluid, water, oil, etc., can contaminate the power steering fluid leading to a degradation of its chemical components. These contaminants also cause the fluid to become thick making it difficult to flow as it should.
With the fluid chemical components degraded, lots of damage can be done to the steering system if not attended to in time.
What to do if Power Steering Fluid Expires?
If the power steering fluid expires, the solution will be to ‘have it changed.’ However, changing may not be necessary if the expiration of the fluid was noticed before it was put inside the steering fluid reservoir. In this case, all you need to do is not use it at all.
Although the power steering fluid can last long, it is not immune to expiration, and when this happens rather than keep using it in a bid to not spend money you should have it changed as soon as possible.
In most cases where the steering fluid expires, all the fluid in the reservoir will be flushed out before changing and replacing with a new one.
For someone with car knowledge and how its parts operate changing the steering fluid will be a walk in the park but if you have no knowledge about it, it is best to take the car to an auto shop.
Pros of Changing Your Power Steering Fluid
The importance of power steering fluid in the steering system has been established but it is also important to know some advantages of changing the fluid whenever the need to do so arises. Therefore, we will be looking at some advantages here.
It keeps the Steering System Functioning Optimally
One advantage of changing the power steering fluid is that you are sure to have the power steering system functioning as it should. Regular change of fluid will ensure that the system has only good fluid running inside and is well lubricated.
The Risk of Metallic Part Break Down is Averted
Expired or bad fluid will cause the metallic parts of the steering system to break down thereby contaminating the fluid. This breakdown and eventual fluid contamination are averted if the power steering fluid is constantly changed.
You are Indirectly Saving Cost
Changing the power steering fluid when necessary is an indirect way of saving cost, you get to save the cost of repairs and replacement.
When the steering fluid is bad other parts of the steering system like the piston, valves, etc., get affected over time. Damage to any of these parts will result in a need for repairs and replacement of the damaged part.
Ease of Driving and Steering the Car
Another advantage of changing your power steering fluid is the ease of driving and steering the car you get to enjoy.
The major function of the steering fluid is to lubricate the steering wheel enough to allow for ease of maneuvering. If the fluid is bad and not changed over the time it gets thick which will restrict its flow to the wheel thereby making steering difficult.
It’s a Way of Keeping your Car Safe on the Road
With constant power steering fluid change, you can be sure that your car is safe to be driven on the road all things being equal, and that it won’t stop on the road leaving stranded.
The signs of bad power steering fluid should not be ignored or overlooked as overlooking could lead to more serious damages that your wallet will feel. Also, the importance of changing the steering fluid cannot be overemphasized.