Power steering

Hello there

Recently, my Saturn SL2 (2001) started making some light noise particularly when I pull it to stop and turn the wheel. The power steering fluid level seems ok, but kind of dirty (lightly reddish with some tiny particles). After I added a bit new power steering fluid the noise reduced, but still exist. I have a few questions: Does the light noise indicate a need to replace the fluid? Or other problems with the power steering? Can I solve the problem by changing the power steering fluid? If not, which part(s) of the power steering need to be replaced? Do I have to see a car mechanic for this issue?

Thank you very much!


Usually the part that makes noise in a power steering system is the pump. Also the pump could be making the particles you see in the fluid. A fluid exchange might be advantageous but it is more likely that the pump is failing. A flush before or after replacing the pump would be advised to get as much of the old fluid and debris out of the system.

Hope that helps.

The information that you posted is very helpful. Thank you very much.

How old is the serpentine belt? A worn belt can make all sorts of noises. I change mine every 3 or 4 years. I’ve had good luck with Goodyear Poly-V Gatorback serpentine belts.

Both of my Fords (91 Taurus and 98 Windstar) had noisy P.S. pumps. To keep them quiet, I replaced the P.S fluid once a year. I did the following.

  1. Use a Turkey baster or bulb siphon (much faster) to remove as much of the old fluid from the reservoir as possible.

  2. Refill the reservoir with fresh fluid. Run the engine for 5 minutes or so to circulate the fresh fluid through the system.

  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until 2 quarts of fresh fluid are added to the system.

It doesn’t replace all the fluid like a flush, but it’s inexpensive and easy to do on a regular basis. It would quiet down the pumps on both Fords.

Ed B.

Thank you very much for your information. Do you have an idea that if I change the power steering fluid often to keep my car quiet, I can drive my car for a long distance this summer? I just worry about long distance driving in the summer. I like to hear you and others’ opinion. Thanks again.