CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Power steering in cold weather

The power steering fluid in my 2004 Nissan Frontier crew cab leaks as the weather turns cold, the colder it gets the worse it leaks. Can anyone explain why and offer a remedy? Thanks

It’s happening because you have a leaky seal, the elastomer of which shrinks in cold weather and leaks even more.

So the real question if you want to fix it is WHERE is it leaking? Rack? Pump? Hose connection?

Sometimes the pitman shaft seal(s) on the steering gear will start leaking in cold weather. If the seal is worn and it gets cold the seal(s) shrink and it starts leaking fluid.

To replace the seal(s), the pitman arm is removed from the pitman shaft. Then the snap ring is removed from around the pitman shaft along with the washer. With a catch pan below the steering gear, start the engine and bring the RPM’s up. Then turn the steering wheel rapidly from lock-to-lock. The hydraulic pressure will blow the old seal(s) out of the steering gear. Install the new seal(s) with the proper diameter pipe, install the washer, install the snap ring, and install the pitman arm.

Tester

I’ve had the entire system replaced with OEM, two years ago. Is this a common problem with Nissan’s?
Thanks to everyone that has responded.

The attached link illustrates your steering system

The question is where in the system is the leak?
No disrespect meant, but I find it a stretch to say you’ve had your entire system replaced with OEM parts. Is it more likely that you had the rack replaced with a rebuilt rack and perhaps one other component replaced?

The most common points of leakage for reck & pinion systems is the seals around the rods that come out of the ends of the racks and push the steering links back & forth. Is the fuild leaking into the boots around the ends of the steering rack?