One of the modern technologies which have contributed in making car driving a pleasure is power steering. In simple terms, power steering is what helps steer and turn a car easily, without using a lot of efforts in turning the steering wheel--just a slight turn of the wheel, and the car turns. Maximum power steering systems are hydraulic in nature--which means that they primarily run on a fluid.
Just as our body gets lubricants for its joints and ligaments through the fats and oil that we consume, the power steering system of the car gets it through the power steering fluid. It is basically a lubricant which prevents the wear and tear of the varied moving parts and seals of the car. The rubbing noises, and the screeches and squeals of the car are considerably reduced due to the usage of the same. This fluid is usually clear, with a slight pink or amber tone to it. Most times, the base for this and for other hydraulic automotive fluids is either organophosphate ester, mineral oil, or polyalphaolefin. The container in which this liquid is stored is called the fluid reservoir, and it is placed against the wheel well, behind the windshield washer fluid and the anti-freeze reservoir.
Changing the Fluid
First, check the fluid level--remove the cap under the hood of the car marked 'power steering fluid'. Inspect it on the dipstick which is attached to it--if you find that its color is light brown, take this as an indication to replace it. Fluid which is pinkish and clear, does not require a change.
Next, put in the fluid transfer or removal tool in the power steering reservoir. Let the device suck out the maximum fluid. Make sure that the reservoirs are empty with the help of the flush.
Then fill in fresh fluid in the right amount back into the tank. The marks will be present on the dip stick. The marks may fluctuate depending on whether the engine is hot or cold.
To test if the fluid has reached the right place and in the right manner, turn the ignition on and turn the wheel to the right and the left. Drive for a short distance and let the engine heat up as it normally does. Then check for the color of the fluid again. If it has turned brown, you will have to change the fluid again by following the same procedure as mentioned above. All this is essential to avoid any failure in the functioning.
A very important thing to keep in mind is that the fluid is not used up as gasoline. With usage, the fluid does get contaminated, though the level of the fluid may not go down considerably. Perhaps a change once a year will help in maintaining the longevity of the engine. Consult a professional in case of any confusion.