5 Simple Steps to Check and Refill Your Power Steering System
Almost all vehicles, except the hybrid and electric cars, use the hydraulic power steering systems. These systems allow drivers to steer the vehicle effortlessly. The system consists of a piston, rack and pinion, and a cylinder that carries the fluid. Low fluid levels make steering difficult and can damage the rack and pinion. It's thus crucial to check these levels and add power steering liquid regularly.
Here are five essential steps to check and refill your power steering system:
Locate the Reservoir Cylinder
If you have trouble with your steering wheel, or hear high-pitched noises while steering, your power steering fluid is likely low. The cylindrical reservoir found near the power steering pump holds the power steering fluid. Besides, it may be remotely located for easier access. Most reservoir cylinders are plastic or metallic, clearly labelled for easier location and identification.
Check Your Power Steering Fluid Level
In case your reservoir cylinder features a translucent plastic, it is much easier to determine the fluid level inside. However, if your reservoir is metallic or non-transparent, use a dipstick – mostly attached to the cap – to check the levels. You must run the engine for some time on particular vehicle models to accurately monitor the power steering fluid. Furthermore, some cars may have 'Max' and 'Min' points that can help you compare the fluid level against the acceptable mark.
Check the Color of Your Power Steering Fluid
You need to examine your power steering fluid, and if it's clear, pink or amber in colour, that's fine. However, if it's black or brown, it's contaminated, mostly with rubber from seals, hoses or the O-rings. In such a scenario, consider hiring a mechanic to determine whether you need to replace the power steering parts together with the fluid. Besides, your power steering fluid may seem darker than usual; hence it's advisable to wipe your dipstick on a paper towel and ascertain the fluid's actual colour.
Add Power-Steering Fluid to Recommended Levels
The final step is to fill the power steering fluid to the right levels. In case your car has cylinder gradation, consider adding the fluid steadily to the right 'hot' or 'cold' fill levels. However, if you used a dipstick, pour the fluid incrementally to prevent overfill. Besides, ensure you use the recommended power steering fluid for your car to achieve the right viscosity.
Replace Your Cylinder Cap
Finally, replace the cylinder's cap after refilling. Depending on your car's model, you can either screw it or push it in place. But most importantly, ensure it's firmly attached before closing the vehicle's hood.