The ease of steering your car is a result of the fluid that is used in the power steering mechanism. To ensure the correct functioning of this system, it is necessary to maintain the fluid level in it. We have listed the steps on how to check power steering fluid level.
When you are done with filling the fluid, using a clean cloth, clean the reservoir cap thoroughly so that dirt doesn’t enter the hydraulic mechanism.
Power steering is a fairly common feature in cars today. It assists the driver in steering the vehicle. The driver on his part has to take less effort to steer the car. This system is especially useful when the vehicle is stationery or moving slowly. The power steering mechanism is a hydraulic system consisting of rack and pinion, rotary vane pump, pulley, and steering gear systems. The hydraulic fluid present in the reservoir cylinder is sucked up by the vanes inside the rotary valve pump that is powered by the engine. The amount of fluid pumped depends on the speed of the car.
This fluid then provides the necessary hydraulic pressure to move the linkages that control the steering mechanism. Thus, to maintain good driving conditions, it is necessary to maintain the level of this steering fluid. We, at Buzzle, have mentioned an easy method of checking the power steering fluid level.
Warm the Fluid
Before you proceed to check the power steering fluid, you need to warm up your power steering fluid (PS fluid), and then cool it down. Here are the steps to prepare your car for a fluid change.
► Start the car’s engine and let it run till its operating temperature reaches normal range. Keep checking the temperature gauge for this.
► Then, turn the steering wheel fully to the right and then fully to the left (lock to lock) position several times.
► Now, switch off the engine. The purpose of doing this is to cool the engine, so as to avoid the possibility of scalding while checking the fluid.
Check the Fluid Level
► The first and the foremost step is to locate the reservoir cylinder under the hood. This cylinder is usually placed near one end of the power steering belt. It may be made of plastic or metal, and will have MAX and MIN markings on it.
► The next step is to check the level of the fluid. Open the reservoir cap to pull out the dip stick, or you can also view the level by checking the MAX and MIN markings. If the level is between the MAX and MIN markings (cold and hot markings are available on some car models), there is enough fluid. However, if the fluid level is below the MIN mark, you will need to add power steering fluid.
► Pull out the dip stick, and wipe it with a clean cloth. Now, reinsert the stick, and pull it out again. If the fluid level is in-between the two markings, you don’t have to worry. However, if it goes down the lower mark, fluid needs to be added. Also, examine the color of the fluid by wiping it on the same cloth. Good fluid will be clear, amber or slightly pink in color. If the fluid color is anything apart from these, you will need a fluid change as it indicates contamination of the existing fluid.
Add the Fluid
► If the fluid level is below the MIN mark, or the color of the fluid has changed, you need to refill the cylinder. It is advised to use a funnel to pour the fluid into the cylinder. Keep an eye on the fluid level as it should not cross the MAX mark.
► While filling the power steering fluid, if you happen to fill the cylinder to its brim, it is good to remove the extra fluid. There is no harm done to your car’s steering mechanism due to the extra fluid, but there are chances of the fluid spilling out and affecting other parts. You can use a turkey blaster to carefully remove the extra fluid. Remember that the fluid should be filled only up to the MAX mark. Any amount of fluid above this mark is excess and of no use.
Make sure that you use the power steering fluid that is recommended for your car, else you will end up damaging the various gaskets and seals in the steering system. Also, make sure to periodically check the fluid because if it completely dries, the pump will need replacement.