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How often should your Power Steering Fluid be changed?

edited February 2012 in Repair and Maintenance
My Honda dealer recommends changing the power steering fluid on my 2006 Civic every 40,000 miles at a cost of $150. I've asked around and everyone tells me that they never have the fluid changed. Is this necessary??


  • It should be changed. Not sure of the exact interval. But you can do it yourself. Get a turkey baster and extract all the old fluid out of the reservoir. Then add the new fluid. Just make sure you get the correct HONDA fluid. STP makes an equivalent. But the Honda fluid from the dealer isn't that expensive.
  • 40k seems way too early and likely to drum up some money for dealer. Some independent esp chains do this.

    What is your long term outlook for the vehicle? If 10yrs/150k leave it alone. If you plan on going into the 200k+ range it likely is good measure by 100k to change it out.
  • 40k seems way too early and likely to drum up some money for dealer.

    It's NOT just mileage..but years...The car is 6 yrs old.
  • As Mike suggested, do it yourself with a turkey baster or a bulb siphon. I start with a quart of fresh fluid, remove as much fluid from the reservoir as possible and refill with fresh fluid, than run the engine for a few minutes. I repeat the process a few times until the quart is used up. Both of my Fords had noisy PS pumps and changing the fluid once a year kept the noise to a minimum.

    Total cost, less than $5.
  • I think it is a bit early, but changing the fluid can't hurt. $150 now that hurts. Use genuine Honda fluid, about $5 from the parts counter. An the turkey baster method will replace enough fluid with fresh that you are good to go.
  • Just make sure you use the right fluid, I think Honda has one they use, I'd buy it at the dealer. And I'd go the turkey baster route.

    Is there a replacement interval listed in your owners manual?
  • Have you changed the brake fluid? That's more important to change than the power steering fluid.
  • I drain and refill the reservoir once a year.
    A very easy DIY job.
    I siphon with a piece of flexible hose since a turkey baster won't fit in my reservoir (sounds a little vulgar, eh?).
  • edited February 2012
    Many PS fluid reservoirs have a filter screen protecting the pump inlet port. When they get clogged (usually from hose fragments) it can starve the pump and make them howl...
  • edited February 2012
    Turkey baster method:
    1) with the engine off, using a turkey baster, drain the PS fluid reservoir. Refill with fresh fluid.
    2) run the engine. Repeat step (1).
    3) go inside and watch American Idol. Or cuddle with your wife. Of your neighbor's wife.

    The thing people don't understand is that the power steering pump runs continuously, and the fluid is constantly recirculated and flows freely. Then, when you turn the wheel, one side of the piston in the rack becomes pressurized by diverting the pumped fluid to that side of the rack. By following the "turkey baster" method, you'll essentially be replacing alomost all of the fluid.

    I've attached a few drawings for illustration. As you can see, there is no clutch in the pump assembly. It's a direct link from the serpentine belt to the pump vanes. Fluid circulation is constant as long as the engine is running. The valve in the rack determines whether the fluid recirculates or compresses in one side of the rack.

    Oh, and READ TEXASES POST. Purging and freshening brake fluid is 1000 times more important than purging and refreshing PS fluid. You lose your PS fluid, your steering gets harder. You lose your brake fluid, your entire life gets harder. Info/Repair Manual/Power Steering/Vane Pump Assy/conponen.pdf Info/Repair Manual/Power Steering/Power Steering Link Assy/conponen.pdf
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