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Do I Need a Power Steering Fluid Change?

Each time you turn your wheel, you are guiding your vehicle with the help of power steering fluid and other system components. Like most vehicle parts, your steering system requires regular maintenance—including power steering flushes. Our local mechanics are here with a look at the 4 signs you need a power steering fluid flush

1: Heavy Steering Wheel and Other Control Difficulties

Each time you drive your vehicle, you maneuver several thousand pounds of machinery. So why is it so easy to control? The power steering motor pressurizes your power steering fluid to multiply the force you apply to your wheel. This process turns a heavy task into an effortless function. 

Naturally, when your power steering system loses the pressure it relies on, you will begin to bear some of the weight. A jerky, heavy, or hard to control steering wheel is a tell-tale sign of low power steering fluid—and the most dangerous symptom on this list. Visit your mechanic at the first signs of steering difficulties. 

2: Noisy Steering Functions

Does your steering wheel make noises as you turn? If so, you may need a power steering fluid flush. In addition to providing the pressure you need to steer, this fluid also lubricates your steering system’s moving parts—including the valves, pistons, and hoses. This lubrication ensures your steering components can move and work together seamlessly. Without proper steering fluid, these moving parts may begin to make abrasive contact—causing squeaking, whining, scraping, and scratching noises. 

3: Failed Vehicle Safety Inspection

Proper vehicle steering is needed to pass your annual car inspection and renew your registration. The inspection detects any issues that can cause safety hazards on the road. While you will likely notice your steering troubles sooner, you may find out you need a power steering fluid flush once you fail your car inspection. You can find our full safety inspection checklist here

4: Leaking Power Steering Fluid

If you notice a red fluid leaking onto the floor of your garage or driveway, this is likely your power steering fluid. Healthy power steering fluid is a light red color, though it becomes amber when it is due for a flush.

Naturally, your power steering fluid will need to be replenished if it is leaking. In this case, however, a mechanic will also need to find and repair the source of the leak.

Is a Power Steering Flush Necessary? 

When you find that you are due for a power steering flush, you might wonder if you can get by and skip this service. So is a power steering fluid change really necessary? The short answer is yes—routine power steering flushes are essential to protecting your vehicle and keeping you safe on the road. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Noticing Symptoms: If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, your power steering fluid flush is absolutely necessary—and should be scheduled as soon as possible for the safety of you, your vehicle, and other drivers on the road. 
  • No Symptoms: What if you are due for a routine power steering fluid flush but have not yet noticed any symptoms? This service is still necessary to prevent dangerous or inconvenient symptoms from emerging. It can also help protect your power steering system. For example, your power steering pump can begin to degenerate without adequate fluid—turning a simple maintenance flush into a costly repair. A visit to the mechanic is necessary—but not as urgent as it is for drivers seeing symptoms. In these cases, schedule your service at your earliest convenience—or have a mechanic come to you

How Often Do I Need a Power Steering Fluid Flush?

On average, vehicles need a power steering fluid flush every 40,000-80,000 miles. In some cases, manufacturer recommendations can go even higher or lower than this range. Your recommended flush routine depends heavily on your type of vehicle—as the steering system and fluid needs can vary. You can check your owner’s manual for specific manufacturer recommendations.

Local Power Steering Flushes from Chapel Hill Tire

In need of a power steering fluid flush? Chapel Hill Tire is here for you! Our local tire experts proudly serve the Triangle with 9 locations across Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. We also commonly serve nearby areas, including Knightdale, Cary, Pittsboro, Wake Forest, Hillsborough, Morrisville, and beyond. Chapel Hill Tire welcomes you to make an appointment, browse our coupons, or give us a call to get started!

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