Should you change your car's power steering fluid?

Your vehicle runs on fluids - oil, transmission, brake, antifreeze. But what about the vastly overlooked power steering fluid? Is it necessary to change it like the others?

Simply put, power steering fluid makes it easier to steer your car. Those who ever drove a car with manual steering back in the day can attest to how difficult it was to turn the steering wheel as opposed to today's power steering.

But there's more to power steering than ease of turning the wheel. Auto experts say a periodic change of steering fluid can prevent sludge and grit from accumulating, getting into your car's rack and pinion seals and destroying them, according to Angie's List.

How do you know when to replace your power steering fluid? Dirty fluid or a moaning sound during steering which signals low fluid level. Both indicate a fluid change is needed. If the fluid level is low, it means there's a leak, which needs to be fixed, since power steering systems are sealed, adds Angie's List.

Other than that, experts suggest changing power steering fluid anywhere from every couple of years to every 100,000 miles, so consult a trusted mechanic, who can advise you on the best times to change your power steering fluid for your vehicle.

One word of caution: Never substitute a "universal" power steering fluid for the power steering fluid recommended by your manufacturer, adds Family Handyman. Also, never use additives or stop-leak products which can clog the filter screens in your steering system, costing you big money in repairs.

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Maintenance
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