Steering issues

A while back I posted a question if really cold temps could impact a car’s power steering. I want to thank all who responded. Well the temps are not sub zero and such and I am still experiencing what I would call sluggish power steering from time to time. I had two new tires and a alignment done on it about a month ago. Prior to that I didn’t notice this issue but now I do. My car is a 2002 Kia Sadona Mini van with about 167,000 miles on it. I am betting the power steering fluid is probably the original. Back last year around maybe November it was a tad low, not much but I did stop and buy some PSF and topped it off and had no issues. The problem is that from time to time the steering feels like it would if you didn’t have power steering. It’s not always like that and there seems to be no ryme or reason as to when the steering feels sluggish (like you are tourning your wheels with underinflated tires) The power steering fluid is full and the tires are fully filled with the correct amount of air. So any ideas what might be causing this sluggish steering since my tire change and alignment occured?

Before you added that PS fluid, did you check the owner’s manual in order to determine the exact type of fluid that Kia/Hyundai specifies? There is no one “universal” PS fluid, and using the wrong type can cause a whole heap of problems.

I didn’t but did ask the tech at autozone and he said Kia didn’t require any thing special and like I said I added it back Nov and did have any issues till late Jan when I had the alignment and wheels changed. Also it wasn’t that much I added it wasn’t that low.

Unfortunately, the guy at Autozone is a cashier, not a “tech”.
He may well be correct, but the real authority is the vehicle mfr, so I suggest that you take a walk out to the car, and take a look at the Specifications section of the Owner’s Manual in order to be sure about the type of fluid that is called for.

If it turns out that generic fluid is okay, then I think that a steering rack-related issue is likely to be the problem, and unfortunately, that can get into very pricey territory. Only a qualified mechanic who can actually examine the car will be able to tell you for sure.

tech at autozone
, no such animal. Your owners manual states that you should use Kia PSF-III fluid. From what i see on various google hits it may be compatible with Dexron II & III, but i would do some research. Also the manual even mentions that the power steering may be harder at lower temps. If you need an Owners manual you can download one here:

Go to a local parts store and purchase a bottle of this.

Follow the directions on the bottle and see if the hard spots go away.

If they do, the rack & pinion assembly is worn out.


If the belt on the power steering pump was slipping, this symptom could result. If it is time for a belt change, now might be a good time to replace it. If it fixes the problem, great. If not, at least you got the belt changed.

If you live in the salt belt, the tensioner on your serpentine belt may have frozen in place and once the belt stretches a little bit more , the tensioner can’t move to take up the slack.

See if you can move the tensioner with a wrench like you were going to change the belt.

I am unable to see the link for the below advise, is that Lucas oil PSF conditonre type item?

Go to a local parts store and purchase a bottle of this.

Follow the directions on the bottle and see if the hard spots go away.

If they do, the rack & pinion assembly is worn out.


Yes - it is a power steering stop leak and “conditioner” from Lucas oil. I have used it without problem to help with minor leaks. But it is also supposed to do things like quiet noisy pumps and reduce hard spots in the steering…and stuff like that. You will find it on the shelf among the power steering fluids at just about any auto parts store.

Do you remove some of the PSF in the container or just add this to it even if it means going over the “fill” line?

Don’t go over the fill line, so remove some if you have to.

Note that other things can make the steering a little stiff - like a binding ball joint. Sometimes these things will stiffen up more when cold and then loosen up.

I just had the front end checked out before having it alligned back in Jan and it got a clean bill of health. I am not losing/leaking any PSF. So I should just use a turkey baster and remove some of the PSF and replace with this conditioner stuff?

That is exactly what you should do.
And, please–for the sake of your guests next Thanksgiving–keep this particular baster in a plastic bag with your car-related stuff so that it doesn’t get mixed-up with kitchen equipment.

How much should I replace? The entire bottle I buy or half or quarter?

Like I said. Follow the directions on the bottle.


If its not leaking will the stop leak hurt anything?


Is anyone aware of a product called Sea foam trans tune and its abilty to clean a power steering system? I saw something on line that suggests removing some of the power steering fluid put some of this stuff in turn on the csr and let it run for about 20 minutes turning the wheel back and forth every so often then refill with fresh PSF

I’ve used Seafoam products for forty years. And if I thought TransTune would help the power steering problem as described I would have suggested it.

The problem here is that the spool valve seals in the rack and pinion assembly are leaking. And that is what the Lucas product addresses.