How to Check and Add Power Steering Fluid

An essential part of car maintenance is checking power steering fluid and adding power steering fluid. Here's a guide on how to do it.
Written by Nicholas Wilson
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Like other systems in your car, the power steering uses fluid to do its job. This fluid helps the various components of your power steering system to turn your steering wheel with ease. If you have ever had your power steering go out, you know how essential the fluid is.
Checking and adding power steering fluid is part of a good maintenance regimen. The process is not terribly difficult, and it's an especially good entry point for someone without loads of car experience.
Read on to learn how to both check power steering fluid and add power steering fluid, with a little help from
car insurance
comparison shopping app
Let Jerry find your price in only 45 seconds
No spam · No long forms · No fees
Find insurance savings (100% Free)

How to check your power steering fluid

Step 1: Put the car in park and open up the hood. Prop open the hood so you can look safely under it.
Step 2: Locate the power steering fluid reservoir. This should be labelled and connected to the power steering pump.
Check around your car’s engine compartment, and if the location of the reservoir is not immediately evident, look in your
car’s user manual
for more information. A Google search of your car’s make and model could also be helpful here.
Step 3: Check the fluid level. Many plastic reservoirs will have some sort of external indication of the level, so it will be easy to tell how high the fluid is.
With some cars, you may need to use a dipstick to determine the fluid level. If it’s not clear what method you should use, again, consult your car user's manual.
For the dipstick method, determine if the fluid level is low by first pulling out the dipstick and cleaning it off with a rag or paper towel. Reinsert the dipstick in the reservoir and check the level again, taking note of the measurements on the dipstick.
Step 4: Check the fluid condition. Now is also a good time to verify that your power steering is not contaminated.
Power steering fluid should not be black or dark brown, which could be a sign of contaminants in the system. One of your power steering components may be faulty, in this case, so take your vehicle to a mechanic for a complete diagnosis.

How to add power steering fluid

Step 1: Purchase the recommended power steering fluid. Visit your local automotive parts store and buy the type of
recommended for your car.
You can find this in your owner’s manual, or the store may be able to look up what type the manufacturer recommends for your specific year, make, and model. Be sure to get the right type, or else you could cause damage to the power steering system.
Step 2: Add the fluid to your car. With the cap for the power steering fluid reservoir removed, add the fluid until the level is within the proper range.
More is not better in this case, so don’t go beyond the maximum fill line. This might overload your system and cause damage needlessly.
Step 3: Return the car to normal. Screw the cap back on to the reservoir and close the hood.
Checking and adding power steering fluid is easy enough to do, even for someone without tons of mechanical experience. Keep an eye on yours on a regular basis and top up as necessary to avoid expensive consequences down the road.
Haven’t shopped for insurance in the last six months? There might be hundreds $$$ in savings waiting for you.
Judith switched to Progressive
icon savingsSaved $725 annually
Alexander switched to Travelers
icon savingsSaved $834 annually
Annie switched to Nationwide
icon savingsSaved $668 annually
Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free