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Power steering reservoir replacement
Power steering reservoir replacement cost
We can take the power steering in the car for granted at times. It is possible to drive without power steering, but it takes significantly more effort to maneuver the car, especially at low speed, and you run the risk of not being able to react quickly enough to avoid an accident.
Power steering assists the driver through the use of either hydraulic, electrohydraulic or an electric system that works to reduce the effort required to steer a vehicle. With the advancements in such steering systems, it is almost effortless to steer a modern vehicle. That is until something goes wrong.
Power steering can fail due to a worn power steering pump, blocked system, air in the system or from loss of fluid. Loss of power steering fluid is the most common problem with failed power steering units.
If the power steering fluid in your vehicle becomes low, you may notice a loss of steering assist and a whining noise when trying to steer. The hydraulic fluid can leak from the power steering pump, rack, hoses or even the reservoir.
If the power steering fluid reservoir is cracked, leaking or been damaged and is losing fluid, it will need to be replaced. This will cost around $80 to $400 depending on the vehicle make and model and the location of the reservoir.
What is the power steering reservoir?
The power steering reservoir (also known as a power steering tank or power steering pump reservoir) stores hydraulic fluid. A pump cycles hydraulic fluid around the power steering system and draws hydraulic fluid from the reservoir when required.
The reservoir, which will be either plastic or metal, will typically have a return line entering near the top of the unit and a bottom line exiting the bottom, with a filler cap on top. The reservoir is usually located near the side wall of the engine bay and will have a minimum and maximum fill line marker or dipstick to help identify if the fluid level is low.
Symptoms the power steering reservoir needs replacing
- Heavy steering that is worse at low speed
- Squealing or whining noise when turning
- Noticeable red, oily leak under the vehicle
How is the power steering reservoir replaced?
Please note that some vehicles will require the removal of the power steering pump - a job that will demand more labour and time. This is how the power steering reservoir is replaced on a majority of vehicles that have hydraulic power steering:
- Locate power steering reservoir
- Clamp off return and bottom hoses
- Remove reservoir
- Refit new reservoir
- Refit hoses and tighten hose clamps
- Refill reservoir with power steering fluid
Tips to remember
When replacing the power steering reservoir, it’s worth checking and replacing the hoses (if required) at the same time.
Always use the correct power steering fluid for your particular vehicle.
How important is replacing the power steering reservoir?
Problems with power steering have been linked to road accidents. When a car doesn’t react normally, or as expected, it can be troublesome when a snap decision is required.
If you don’t replace a damaged reservoir and continue to drive with low power steering fluid, the entire power steering system can be damaged which can lead to an expensive repair.
Apart from the safety and monetary aspects, when the power steering is faulty you will need to tolerate a hefty arm workout whenever you need to park or turn in tight areas. This alone will have you looking to book an AutoGuru expert to fix the problem!