Honda Power Steering Fluid

Acura Integra 1999LS 95k
About 15k before, when I did the timing belt, those guys changed the PS Fluid without speaking to me with non-Honda fluid saying it was black.

So I went about using a syringe to suck it out and replaced it using Honda PS - I did it repeatedly a few times to try and remove all the non-Honda fluid until I am somewhat satisfied.

Now I am thinking of emptying the reservoir only and filling for every 5k. I just did it yesterday and used under 2 bottles (believe a pint) - the oil came out looks black through the transparent bottle. THe new oil was almost colorless that it was difficult to see the level.

But after doing about 10miles, it looks the new fluid color is lost? Should I take it to a shop and fully exchange?

The thing with Hondas is that PS and Tranny - you better stick with Honda fluid. I just took it to Sears Auto to exchange Brake Fluid.


Here’s an idea

Put the car on jack stands
Put a bucket under the rack
Disconnect a power steering hose at the rack
Turn the wheel back and forth a few times, until you get out most/all of the wrong PS fluid
Reconnect the hose
Fill up the reservoir with correct fluid
Start the engine, refilling as necessary and until bubbles are gone and pump is quiet

Chances are you are not going to see clear fluid. The oil has detergents in it and cleans the system, so it looks dirty. Your PS system is old, so don’t expect a clean oil. The same happens when I exchange to PS fluid on my '05 Camry. The color is just a tad lighter for a few days.

I thought Honda’s were content with Dexron ATF in their PS systems…Black fluid usually means the PS flex hoses are deteriorating and contaminating the fluid. The car is 14 years old…

My recollection is that, just like with their transmissions, Hondas need brand-specific fluid for their power steering.

Yes, Hondas require a specific fluid. Using conventional fluid may result in a steering rack leak and/or shuddering felt in the steering wheel.

The good news is that if you’ve replaced the fluid a couple of times now and used Honda fluid you should be fine. The black fluid is usually a sign of degradation of the rack and the inside of the hoses. If by chance you do eventually have trouble with the rack, chances are it’s just due to age. I’ve seen a lot of leaky racks on cars newer than yours.

I think you’re over-thinking this.

The fluid put in the reservoir by the mechanic was probably just fine, as long as it was power steering fluid made for Honda vehicles. I’ve been using non-Honda brand power steering fluid made for Hondas that meets Honda’s specifications for more than a decade, and I have not had any problems.

At this point, with so many miles on the car, I don’t worry about the fluid changing color. I just use a siphon pump to drain and refill it every few years. If you go to a shop and pay $40 for them to “flush” your power steering fluid, this is likely all they’ll do anyway.

You should have a separate reservoir that has two hoses that are clamped, so they are both easily removed. The smaller hose attached to the higher location is the return hose. If you want to flush the system, syphon out all the fluid from the reservoir.

Then get a long piece of 3/8 ID hose. Follow the return hose back to the cooler hardline and unclamp and disconnect it there. That should be about a foot from the reservoir. Attach the long hose to the hardline and put the other end in a bucket. Take the return hose attached to the reservoir and bend it up so that the open end is above the top of the reservoir. Then fill the reservoir with fresh fluid.

Now open a couple bottles of fresh PS fluid and stand by the reservoir. Have someone start the engine and turn the steering wheel from lock to lock and back to center at least one time, twice would be better, mean while keep the reservoir full. When the fluid starts running clear out the return hose, stop the engine.

Now remove the long hose. Take the return hose attached to the reservoir and put the open end into an empty bottle and lower it. The fluid in the reservoir will drain into the bottle as the hose is lowered. Reattach the return hose and clamp in place and refill the reservoir. The fluid that you drained into the bottle should be OK to put back in the reservoir.