Power Steering

So I was at a Valvoline Instant Oil Change the other week and had my oil changed and tires rotated. While there the service tech told me I needed a power steering flush as my car had reached 30,000 miles. He showed me where it showed up on his computer in red letters and told me that this was something that was very important. I had this done at a cost of $69.99. I have never had a problem with the power steering. After consulting with my owners manuel I could find nothing stating that this needed to be done. Did I just get ripped off? I dont want others to get this service, especially in this economy if it isn’t necessary…I drive an '07 Toyota Corolla LE.

You got ripped off. Sorry.

Power steering systems don;t operate like brake systems. The fluid is constantly circulated, being directed proportionally to one side of the PS rack piston or the other depending on which way you’re turning. Some suggest an occasional “refreshing” to prevent contamination from corrupting the seals and/or the internals of the “spool valve”, which is the portioning valve that diercts the fluid in the rack, but even those that recommend this would agree that 30,000 miles is way premature. Refreshing can be done by simply drawing fluid from the reservoir with a turkey baster and refilling it. Perhaps twice. The new fluid gets circulated through the system as the pump runs.

Personally, I don’t service it at all and I’ve never had a problem.

Quick-lube places often push unneeded services. They also often have poorly-trained people working in a hurry. That’s not a good formula. I’d suggest having future work done by a real mechanic.

Never have anything done other than your oil change there. (and I would even question that) If they say you need another type of service, consult a mechanic you can trust first. Save your money.

A service like this at a quick lube place is also just another opportunity for them to leave something loose, add the wrong fluid, or under/overfill something.

We all see far too many problems with service at the quick oil change places. They all use the same business model and it is strongly slanted towards the business profit, not the car owner’s service.

Using a local independent mechanic who has been recommended by friends or family, is generally your best bet. You want the mechanic’s name on the sign not the corporate name.

Yes you got ripped off. I was an OEM steering engineer for 15 years and have designed several hydraulic systems. At one time we cosidered removing the ability to fill the system because if it’s not leaking, there is no reason to put fluid in it. It can cause more problems through contamination then it fixes.

Actually you got ripped off twice. consider that the oil change itself took 4 quarts of oil and a filter, the power steering fluid only took two quarts of PS fluid and no filter. A quart of PS fluid costs about the same as a quart of oil.