Have you ever wondered how effortlessly you steer a big vehicle? It’s all thanks to power steering fluid.
It is a hydraulic fluid that helps your steering system to increase power and steering with ease. But as steering gets heavier, it’s time to change your power steering fluid.
Then you may wonder, “Can You Add Power Steering Fluid To A Hot Car?”
The answer is yes, but it’s not recommended. You can change the fluid if your engine is hot, but you should change it when the engine is cooled down so you can easily change the power steering fluid without any complications.
Let’s delve into this topic and discuss why and how you have to change your power steering fluid. So, there will be no issue next time when you change your power steering fluid.
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What is power steering fluid, and how it works
A power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid that creates high pressure in your steering system by putting hydraulic force on your front wheels. Steering fluid makes it easier to steer your vehicle with ease by putting less force because of hydraulic assistance.
The fluids are made mainly from petroleum and contain no silicone fluid. In general, silicone fluids are not as good as petroleum-based fluids because they tend to move away from where they are applied. Silicone fluids are only used for high-temperature or chemical applications where petroleum fluids cannot be used.
Power steering fluid does the job by connecting the steering wheel and the wheels at the front of your car using hydraulic pressure. The fluid also helps keep the parts inside the steering system lubricated and working smoothly.
Can You Add Power Steering Fluid To A Hot Car?
Yes, you can add power steering fluid to your car when it’s hot, but it’s not recommended because adding power steering fluid when you just drive your car it’s hot can be risky and may not be the proper way.
This is because when your car is hot, the power steering fluid can become thinner and less dense, which can make it difficult to gain an accurate reading of the fluid level by pulling the dipstick cause the fluid inside the reservoir is spread across the steering system and pouring more on to reservoir can lead to overfilling.
Additionally, adding power steering fluid to a hot car can cause the fluid to expand and overflow, which can flow out of the reservoir, creating a mess and potentially damaging other parts of the engine or the car. So it’s basically not the proper way to add power steering fluid.
If you need to add power steering fluid to your car, it’s best to wait until the engine has cooled down to a safe temperature. This will help you to ensure that the fluid is at the correct level and won’t overflow the reservoir so that you don’t accidentally cause any damage to your car.
Can I put power steering fluid in my car while it’s running?
Yes, you can add power steering fluid while your car is still running. But it’s not the proper way, and you could probably make a mess out of it. As we know, power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid that works on the hydraulic system. So if you add power steering in a running car, it might come out of your reservoir flowing and spill your engine bay and can mess up your clothes too.
So the proper way to do this is when your car is off and resting.
Can I use water instead of power steering fluid?
Power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid and has moisture moisture-attracting capabilities so that the inside of your power steering system is rust-free.
Power steering fluid also works as a lubricating property which helps to reduce friction, but as we know, water doesn’t have this kind of property, so instead of working, it will make it worse. Water will spread moisture and damage the inside of your power steering mechanism and make it rust.
We strongly advise you not to use water as a substitute.
How much power steering fluid do I need?
Based on what you will do, the requirement of power steering fluid you will need.
If you have existing fluid in the reservoir and you are just planning just to top it off, one liter of power steering fluid will be enough to level between the “MIN” and “MAX” lines.
However, if you want to flush out your power steering fluid and you will add new fluid to your car, then you will need 2 liters at least or more.
You can always check the power steering fluid level by checking the dipstick.
What happens if you run out of power steering fluid
Power steering fluid is not fuel, so if you had previously topped up power steering fluid, you could not run out of it.
Although let’s imagine you ran out of power steering fluid and you are driving without it. It can get really risky as you will damage some of the parts permanently. Also steering wheel feels much heavier than before, and you are more likely to crash your car without steering.
However, the biggest concern is you can not run out of power steering fluid, and if you do, then there is a leak in the reservoir or any leakage in the system.
So getting it fixed by a professional is more likely the best way.
How to add power steering fluid in a car
We will provide you with step-by-step instructions to change and add power steering fluid to your car.
Step 1: raise up your car
Lift or raise your car front by using a jack stand.
Step 2: Drain up the power steering reservoir
Look for your steering fluid reservoir under the hood. It has a power steering fluid symbol written on the cap. If you have a hard time finding it check your manual. Now Drain up the power steering reservoir with a turkey baster or pump that sucks up fluid(can be a dropper or handwash pump long enough to reach the end of the reservoir)
Step 3: Disconnect the return line and drain the system
To locate the power steering fluid return line, you need to look under your car where the power steering pump is located. There are two lines attached to the pump, and you can identify the return line by looking for the line with clamps that can be removed using a pair of pliers.
Place your drain cup or bucket below the return line. Now after removing the clamp, pull the hose off. Plug in something on the hose line connected to the reservoir so no fluid comes off when you drain out the fluid.
To remove as much old fluid from the system as possible, turn the steering wheel all the way to the left and right a few times while the hose is still disconnected. Do this until you no longer see any fluid coming out.
Step 4: Flushing the steering system with fresh fluid
While the return hose is disconnected, fill up the reservoir about half the space with fresh fluid.
Now start the engine, and to remove dirt and contaminated fluid, you need to steer left and right again, like in step 3, until all the fluid is drained out.
By doing so, the reservoir will go empty. Watch it before it gets empty, and fill it with fresh fluid again. After repeating this process two or three times, check the draining fluid color. If the color of the fluid is the same as the fluid you are pouring, it means now the steering system is clean.
Step 5:Reconnect the return hose.
Attach the return hose back onto its place. After attaching it, put back the clamp you took using pliers.
Step 6: Top off the fluid with fresh fluid
Now top off fresh fluid in the reservoir. Make sure that the power steering reservoir is filled up to the “full” mark described on the dipstick. After filling it up, close the cap and start the engine for about 10 seconds. Now, Turn off the engine, remove the cap, and add more fluid until the level reaches the “full” mark again.
Step 7: Check for fluid leaks
Start your engine and let it run for a while. Now, look underneath if the car is leaking fluid from anywhere, especially where you disconnected the hose and flushed the system. Don’t get confused about any spilled fluid as a new leak.
Next, turn your steering wheel all the way from left to right. Check your reservoir while doing this. If the fluid level goes down, add more fluid up to the full mark. This will help in flushing down the fluid from the reservoir all the way to the steering system.
Step 8: Remove the jack stand and test drive your car
Remove the jack stand carefully and lower your car. Start your engine and steer left and right to see if the power steering fluid is working properly. If you can steer at ease without any problem, that means your steering system is fixed!
If you see any problem while steering, check your power steering fluid reservoir. Make sure the level is full. If it’s full and still steering is not working properly, then it’s time you should check and fix your car by a professional mechanic.
Power Steering Fluid Change QUICK and EASY
Changing your power steering fluid is a simple task, and you can do it yourself. But this process needs proper materials, tools, and the steps mentioned above. Meaning one wrong step can cost your steering system much more than you imagined.
So the question arises, “Can You Add Power Steering Fluid To A Hot Car?”. However, you can add power steering fluid if your vehicle is still hot. But for proper technique and the best outcome, you should wait for it to cool down. By maintaining the steering system and changing your power steering fluid more often, you can expect a smoother drive the next time you are on the road taking corners.