Power steering fluid is often one of the more overlooked fluids in a vehicle. Everyone knows they need to change their oil. They even know to add more wiper-fluid. Of course, everyone knows about gasoline and how to replace that. However, for whatever reason, power steering fluid tends to be the forgotten component of vehicle maintenance.
The reality is, there's no real definitive answer and even the car manufacturers vary in their opinions.
The best advice that could possibly be given would be to meet somewhere in the middle. Either every two years or every seventy-five thousand miles, you should change your power steering fluid out.
Changing out your power steering fluid is incredibly important because of how the power steering pumps function. Power steering pumps are hydraulic pumps which put out upwards of sixteen-hundred pounds of pressure. Over years of use, the power steering fluid gets dirty along the way. Dirty fluids create vastly more friction, becoming abrasive. Dirty fluids can even go so far as to ruin the seals in the pump, or the seals on the rack, which can be incredibly expensive to replace.
The most obvious but most important sign that you are low on steering fluid is when your wheels have trouble turning. This can cause driving difficulties and can be dangerous, especially if it happens suddenly while driving.
If you notice a squeaking or grinding noise every time the wheels are turned, there's a good chance it's due to low power steering fluid. The power steering system uses a pump to allow fluid to flow for smooth steering. When the fluid is low, air will begin to circulate through the steering box and make strange noises when you turn the steering wheel.
If you notice your steering wheel starting to vibrate while driving, you must be very careful to maintain full control of the vehicle. Since you have to work harder when making turns, we recommend finding a safe parking spot and calling your breakdown service
As mentioned above, a leaking power steering rack is one of the leading signs of a lack of power steering fluid. If you remove the reservoir cap and don't see any liquid inside, there's a good chance you have a leak.