Power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid. A hydraulic fluid’s job is to transfer power. Power steering fluid transfers the power in the steering wheel to the steering mechanisms. This allows for effortless turning.
Power steering fluid is also hygroscopic meaning it absorbs water, a less than ideal feature. The metal components in the power steering system aren’t fond of water. As you know: water + metal = rust. Rust affects the overall health of your power steering system.
Great Bridge Auto Service’s technicians will gladly inspect your power steering fluid for degradation.
What does fluid color indicate?
- Clear, red, pink – Fluid is clean, but could be inspected with test strip to check for the presence of water
- Dark brown or black – Fluid is oxidized and tainted with metal
- Foamy fluid – Fluid level is low or there is an air leak in the system
*(Note of caution: If your power steering fluid is low, be sure to consult your owner’s manual before adding any new fluid. Fluids must be compatible with the hoses and seals designed for your vehicle.)
- Fluid comes in contact with aluminum: This occurs because the power steering fluid comes in contact with the rack and pinion which are made of aluminum. High temperatures causes the aluminum to naturally break down into a fine powder which is absorbed by the power steering fluid.
- Fluid’s hygroscopic properties: O-rings and other metal power steering components are victims of water that is absorbed by the fluid. As they break down, they contaminate the fluid making the power steering pump work harder.
- Electrochemical degradation: A fancy science-like term that simply means the power steering fluid degrades naturally due to the high temperature/pressure conditions and metal components in which it works and interacts.
What can happen if I don’t flush my power steering fluid?
- Damage to the power steering pump
- Damage to the rack and pinion