How do you know if a car needs power steering fluid?

How can I know if I need power steering fluid? My car is hard to steer. My aunt said it's because it needs steering fluid, but I'm worried it might be something bigger.

If you’re having a hard time steering, then that’s a problem. Luckily, your aunt is probably right! Being low on steering fluid is one of the most common causes of steering difficulties. To make sure that’s the problem, keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs:
  • Sounds: Your steering wheel shouldn’t make any sound when it turns. If it does, you might be low on fluid.
  • Jerking: If you turn your wheel, and it jerks in your hand or doesn’t move smoothly—it’s likely related to your steering fluid levels.
  • Leaking: Steering fluid has, among car fluids, a uniquely reddish color. If you find a small puddle of an unknown reddish substance under your car, you probably have a steering fluid leak.
Remember, your ability to steer is an integral part of driving safely. So you should change your power steering fluid every 50,000 miles or 5 years. Failure to do so could result in accidents and serious injuries for yourself and others. Get your steering fluid replaced as soon as possible.
If you’re worried about the price of steering fluid, offset the cost by saving on your car insurance. With the Jerry app, you can find and compare personalized quotes from over 50 top insurers like Nationwide, Allstate, and Travelers for free. The average Jerry user saves $879 a year on car insurance—and it only takes a minute to sign up!
Lauren Smith
Answered on Oct 27, 2021
Lauren has written for World Nomads, the Matador Network, Korvia Consulting, and once upon a time Three Fates Games. She graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing. After graduating, she moved overseas and lived in South Korea where she spent her free time traveling and going on road trips with friends. She misses the rest stop potatoes and is trying to figure out how to recreate them at home. She's now based outside of Chicago and when she's not writing she spends her free time reading, playing video games, and exploring whenever she can.

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