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Power steering fluid

I recently took my car to have its annual safety inspection, which it passed. As usual, various optional services were recommended, including flushing and replacing the power steering fluid. The technician showed me a sample of the fluid from my car, which looked dark carmel color, and a sample of new fluid which looked light pink.

The car is 8 years old, but has only 42,000 miles on it. Is it time to service the power steering fluid? And, is this a DIY project?

Paying someone for a power steering “flush” is a little nutty. Just get a big turkey baster or something similar. Suck out as much as you can from the reservoir & replace with new. Its simple & only takes a few minutes. Do that for a few Saturdays & you’ll have replaced most of your fluid. Then do it once every time you change your oil & your fluid will stay fairly fresh.

A dark caramel color is perfectly normal. After eight years, that’s how your power steering fluid is supposed to look. And it will continue to get the job done for another eight years.

Check your owner’s manual. Power steering fluid in general is not listed in most maintenance schedules as needing periodic replacement (although there are some exceptions).

If you really want fresh pink fluid, it is not a bad idea to use the turkey baster trick. But don’t fall for that technician’s line of dire necessity. This fluid flush is being oversold everywhere as a high-profit service for the shop’s owner.