Maximum Joy, Minimal Seep

Hey gang;

I have a couple of questions regarding my 96 Maxima. So far I’m really happy with her and of course want to make her the best she can be. She really is in great shape for 20 yrs and 165k. + miles. I have two “seeps”. I check all the fluid levels at least weekly and have no fluid level loss, but a there are a couple of drops in the driveway. When I get underneath, I can see seepage around the oil pressure switch, which is very accessible. I feel pretty confident I can replace it myself. Other than making sure the threads are clean and using teflon tape on the new switch, is there anything else I should look out for? The other seep is coming from the power steering return side. I’m by no means a mechanic, so I’m wondering if this is one to leave to a pro. Any other recommendations about OEM vs. aftermarket, what brands you trust, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Hope everyone has a beautiful holiday season.

Oil leaking from the oil pressure sending unit is a common problem on every vehicle.

They’re made of plastic.

If the replacement sending unit doesn’t have an O-ring, it’s a good idea to apply a small amount thread sealant to sending unit before installing it.

If the return line in the power steering system is leaking, that’s usually caused by the line rubbing against something creating a leak.

That line isn’t under extreme pressure as the supply line in the system.


DIY’er here, I’ve replaced power steering hoses before, without much problem. I had two problems to overcome is all. Besides the wallet cleansing for the new part, the main problem I had was finding a wrench that would fit the large banjo-bolt involved, it was bigger than most bolts I encounter. I think I ended up doing it with my biggest Crescent wrench. It required quite a bit of force to undo. The second was, once the new one got installed, bleeding the system to get all the air out. What I eventually did that worked was jack up both front wheels off the ground, then turn the steering wheel slowly back and forth about 15 times, with the cap off the power steering reservoir. The engine was off during this procedure.

Thanks Gentlemen;
Am doing the oil pressure switch myself for sure. Very easy to access; some thread sealant, dielectric grease and away I go. Then I can take a good look at the PS hose and see if it’s worth taking a stab at. I hear you, @GeorgeSanJose about the wallet cleansing. If it looks feasible, I’ve saved the labor and gained some knowledge and confidence. Do you guys recommend getting that kind of part from the dealer? Thanks again.


Not a dealer part.

Any parts store can provide the proper low pressure power steering hose for your vehicle. Or for that matter, the high pressure power steering hose too.


Thanks for the rapid response @Tester! I don’t mind spending extra for better stuff, because a big part of car care is peace of mind, but any money saved can be deployed elsewhere. May the road rise with you, as some of my friends say.

I have slightly different opinions regarding leaking/seeping hoses

In my experience, power steering hoses start to get greasy and leak after several years of service, regardless if they’re rubbing against something or not

I’ve replaced tons of leaking hoses that were not in contact with anything

power steering return hoses are usually bulk hoses, cut to length as needed. However . . . on some cars it’s a shaped hose. In that case you’re better off getting it from the dealer. I have replaced such shaped hoses with bulk hoses in the past, but the routing wasn’t perfect and the hose had a slight kink

We’re talking about a 20 year old car. I would not be surprised at all if various hoses and lines were leaking, seeping, etc. and they’re not misrouted or coming into contact with anything

The new oil pressure switch might already have some sealant on the threads

If I sometimes sound like a sourpuss, so be it

I do have my own experiences and opinions, and they don’t always perfectly match what the other guys are saying

But I think we’re in agreement much/most of the time :sweat_smile:

Thanks @db4690. I value your opinion greatly, as I do the others here who try to help out. Now if only the weather holds…


Can you do this repair in a garage?

No such luck at the moment. The oil pressure switch is easy to get to, and the time involved to replace it relatively short, so my ramps and chocks in the (flat) driveway should be fine. The PS hose might be another matter. After everything’s cleaned up I’ll see if it’s something I think I can tackle.