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How to Change Your Power Steering Fluid in Under 5 Minutes for Under $20

Author: Silver CymbalTime: 2024-01-13 12:30:00

Table of Contents

Introduction to Changing Power Steering Fluid

Changing your power steering fluid regularly is one of the best ways to improve your car or truck's handling and extend the life of your power steering system. Old, worn out fluid can cause noise from the pump, vagueness in steering, and even early failure of components like the rack and pinion.

The secret to changing power steering fluid quickly and thoroughly is using a vacuum pump. This inexpensive tool allows you to completely change the fluid in under 5 minutes without making a mess.

Benefits of Fresh Power Steering Fluid

Swapping out old power steering fluid provides several important benefits:

  • Eliminates noise coming from the power steering pump
  • Prevents early failure of the rack, pinion, and other components
  • Restores precise, responsive steering

Tools and Materials for Changing Power Steering Fluid

You only need a few basic tools and materials to change your power steering fluid:

  • Vacuum pump ($30 to $100) - allows quick draining and refilling of the system

  • 2 quarts of correct power steering fluid - match what is recommended in your owner's manual

  • A rag - catches spills and drips while working

  • A tubing cap or clamp (optional) - helps temporarily plug hoses

Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Power Steering Fluid

Follow these simple steps to swap out your old power steering fluid for fresh fluid in under 5 minutes:

  1. Place a rag under the reservoir to catch spills

  2. Remove reservoir cap and use the vacuum pump to drain all fluid

  3. Locate the return line and disconnect it from the reservoir

  4. Seal the end of the return line with a tubing cap or clamp

  5. Insert vacuum pump hose into return line

  6. Refill reservoir with fresh fluid

  7. Operate vacuum pump to pull old fluid out through the return line

  8. Top off reservoir as needed and run cleaner fluid through system

  9. Check fluid level and reinstall return line and reservoir cap

  10. Start engine and turn steering wheel to circulate fluid

  11. Verify fluid level and take for a test drive


Changing power steering fluid with a vacuum pump makes this important maintenance task fast, easy and mess-free. Doing it regularly improves steering feel and can prevent early component failure.

Give it a try next time your power steering system needs servicing for safety, performance and cost savings benefits.


Q: How often should I change my power steering fluid?
A: Power steering fluid should be changed every 30,000 to 50,000 miles or according to your owner's manual.

Q: What happens if I don't change my power steering fluid regularly?
A: Dirty power steering fluid can cause damage to the power steering pump, leaks, noise and poor steering performance.

Q: What type of fluid should I use?
A: Consult your owner's manual for the recommended power steering fluid type. Many vehicles use Dexron III fluid.

Q: Can I do this with basic tools?
A: While a vacuum pump makes it easier, you can use a turkey baster and basic tools to change power steering fluid.

Q: Why does changing power steering fluid help?
A: Fresh fluid improves steering response, reduces noise from the pump, and extends the life of the power steering system.

Q: How much fluid does my car need?
A: Power steering systems hold 1-2 quarts of fluid. Check your dipstick to ensure proper fill level.

Q: Should the engine be on or off when changing fluid?
A: The engine should be off when changing power steering fluid to avoid injury.

Q: Can I damage my car doing this?
A: If done properly according to steps, changing power steering fluid is safe for your vehicle.

Q: What if I spill fluid?
A: Clean up any spills immediately and dispose of properly. Top off reservoir to correct level.

Q: Do I need to bleed the system?
A: Bleeding is not necessary but running the system after changing fluid will circulate fresh fluid.