How to Check Power Steering Fluid

Step1

Find the hood release, usually located beneath the dash. Pull.

Step2

Walk around the front of the car. Find the hood latch. The hood latch is usually located at the front edge of the hood. Depress the latch. While depressing the latch, lift and open the hood.

Step3

Locate the belts. The power steering pump is driven by a pulley and a belt and has a clear plastic or metal (usually round) reservoir on top if it. The power steering cap will often say "power steering."

Step4

Check the fluid level either by looking at the side of the reservoir (if you have the clear plastic type) or by unscrewing the cap (for the metal type). Some reservoirs may have a small dipstick attached to the cap. Typically, you have a choice between checking the fluid warm or cold, and there will be corresponding "Hot" and "Cold" levels.

Step5

Add fluid if necessary. Use only the proper type of power steering fluid for your car. Check the owner's manual and the bottle. Some cars require power steering fluid specifically for your make of car.

Tips & Warnings:

  • Check the fluid level and the power steering belt if you hear a squeal when you turn the wheel all the way to one side.
  • Take the car into a mechanic if the steering is stiff.
  • Keep in mind that although drifting or shuddering may signal problems with the steering system, these symptoms may also relate to the car's tires, suspension, brakes or other front-end problems.
  • Power steering fluid does not get "used up" - other than a leak, there's no reason that the fluid should be low. Fill the reservoir to the proper level and check frequently if you find it low. If it continues to be low, check for leaks and go see your mechanic. An empty power steering pump can be damaged very quickly and is costly to replace

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