Flushing power steering fluid?

steering
fluids
#1

I get conflicting info about having or not having my power steering fluid flushed:

a - I see nothing from Ford Motor Co for a recommendation to flush it and at what interval (for my 2002 Explorer - 105,000 miles on it).

b - My independent service guy (who only works on Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles) says there is no good system to get enough of the old fluid out to make it worth while.

c - Everybody else wants to sell me their version of a steering system flush.

What do you think, folks?

#2

What does the fluid look like and how does the system operate? If the fluid doesn’t look burnt or contaminated, and the system works just fine, I wouldn’t worry about it.

#3

I dunno. When my power steering fluid got dark and nasty, I flushed it myself. If the fluid still looks a light honey color, you may be OK. New rack = $$$$. 6 pints of PSF = $30 and cheap insurance. This is on a honda civic, though, so YMMV.

(b) I’m not sure how ford’s PS system works, but the way those machines work is to disconnect the PS pump hoses and insert the new fluid inline while the engine is running. To get almost the same result, you can use a syringe or a small vacuum pump to suck the old fluid out of the reservoir. I then filled mine up with new fluid, jacked the car up, started the engine, turned the wheels from lock to lock a bunch of times, then repeated the fill / drain / turn until the fluid looked markedly cleaner. My capacity is theoretically 2 pints, I ran 6 through the system.

I think in regards to ©, the PSF flush is a common “wallet flush” upsell. However, after 105K miles you might benefit from it - it is just cheaper to do it yourself.

#4

That is your independent’s way of saying that it is not necessary since Ford does not specify an interval. Disconnecting the high pressure hoses to do it is too much work to be worth it.

If you want to change it, the Turkey-baster method will work fine, but it will take more fluid to get a complete change . A Mercon trans fluid is called for in all their cars after 1998 and most before that, IIRC, and inexpensive. Ford no longer sells Mercon and substitutes Mercon V which is more expensive. Aftermarket Mercon should be available, and it should be fine.

Note that I would not use Mercon in a no Ford transmission since Mercon V is better even though the factory fill may have been Mercon.

#5

I think " Everybody else wants to sell me their version of a steering system flush."

#6

The only time I made the mistake of paying for a power steering flush, I watched them do it. All they did was siphon the old fluid out, put new fluid in, turn the steering wheel both ways and back to the middle, siphon the fluid again, and refill. You can do it yourself if your power steering fluid looks old and save yourself the money.

#7

Thanks for the input, guys. I may give the do-it-yourself turkey baster method a try first. My power steering works fine (so far!), but the fluid is brownish color. I expect that if I get enough of it out, the new fluid will stay fresh looking for a while, and if I don’t, it will go back to the brownish color soon after, so I can tell how successful I am.

Second choice: My oil change place claims to have a vacuum pump and small diameter tube, so they can “get way down in there” and suck most of it out, in their words. I don’t remember exactly, but I think he said he charges only about 40 bucks (that may be plus the fluid cost, I’ll have to verify), so that may be worth the hassle if he flushes it with enough fresh fluid.

#8

Is your power steering noisy? Fords will usually quiet down considerably after a flush.

#9

I just got had. I thought they said Brake fluid which was of more concern. The PS worked fine.