Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Power steering fluid flush cost?

Do I really need it and if so, what does a power steering fluid flush cost?

So your shop listed power steering fluid flush cost under recommended services. Well, shops routinely recommend a power steering fluid flush every few years, even though many car brands don’t even list power fluid changes in their maintenance guide. So what gives? Does the fluid wear out or doesn’t it? And, if it does, why wouldn’t the car makers want you to change it? And most importantly, what are normal power steering fluid flush costs?

Do you need a power steering fluid flush at all?

First, the car makers that don’t list a power steering fluid change interval feel confident enough in their factory fluid to believe it’ll last the life of the vehicle. Mechanics argue that no fluid can last that long. Still, the companies that rebuild power steering pump and steering gear assemblies say they see evidence of fluid contamination and wear particles when they tear down worn out power steering pumps and steering gears. In fact, when a shop buys a rebuilt power steering pump or steering gear assembly to install in your vehicle, the rebuilder requires a complete power steering flush and the installation of a filter in order to filter out particulates and maintain the warranty on the rebuilt part.

Where does power steering fluid contamination come from?

A power steering system contains O-rings and rubber hoses that break down from power steering fluidheat. Those components shed  particles over their life. So on that point alone, it makes sense to flush the system. Then again, if those parts have deteriorated, what good will new fluid do? They’ll still continue to shed and break down even with new fluid. Mechanics argue that they see metallic particles in the fluid due to wear and that justifies replacement. But the biggest origin of fluid contamination is from car owners or shops that add the wrong fluid to their system.

Ok, so when should you do a power steering fluid flush?
If a power steering fluid change interval is listed in your car maintenance guide, do it according to the car maker’s schedule. If it’s not listed in your maintenance guide, changing the power steering fluid once every 80,000 to 100,000 miles is a great preventative measure. As I said earlier, if you have any portion of the power steering system replaced, insist they do a complete power steering fluid flush.

Power steering fluid change cost

Power steering fluid changes can be done two ways; manually and with a fluid flushing machine. Both methods require removing the power steering return line and capping off the power steering fluid reservoir. In the manual method, the mechanic routes the return line into a bucket and a second mechanic continuously fills the reservoir with fresh fluid while the engine is running. The mechanic inside the vehicle turns the wheel left to right to purge the old fluid.

 

So you’re looking at not more than an hours’ labor and probably four quarts of power steering fluid. Depending on the year, make and model, the power steering fluid can cost as little as $4/qt to as much as $12 for European vehicles. If you have the service done at an independent shop or oil change place, plan on around $65 to $125 for power steering fluid flush cost.

©, 2016 Rick Muscoplat

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