How often should we change power steering fluid?


Mike Tonon

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There isn't a manufacturer recommendation, so I change out what is in the reservoir every three years along with the brake fluid. As long as you are changing some of it out every once in a while, I think you will be good.
Well heck, my dad had an 87 Ranger that he really only changed the motor oil on.

It blew the water pump around 100,000 miles. The coolant was the old green, which I think was 2 or 3 year coolant. It was nasty. The power steering was nasty too. The hoses started to leak just a little after maybe 120,000 miles. I pulled slot of the fluid out of the reservoir and replaced it with something with stop leak in it. It stopped it. Seemed a tad quieter, too. Brake fluid was never changed. But a line blew out around 120,000 miles. Never had another problem with though. But those systems didn’t have ABS, so no really expensive stuff to go bad. So I guess my point is maybe thorough maintenance isn’t all that worth it.
 


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Wow... alot to absorb there.
 

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Not much you can so with the water pump. Changing brake fluid helps prevent internal corrosion and parts failure. Preventative maintenance and fixing problems when they are small makes a huge difference in the long term when it comes to longevity, reliability, and maintenance bills.

Especially when it comes to the axles and transmissions. Any honest transmission shop will tell you they would be out of business if people changed their transmission fluid every 30,000 miles.


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Mike Tonon

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Not much you can so with the water pump. Changing brake fluid helps prevent internal corrosion and parts failure. Preventative maintenance and fixing problems when they are small makes a huge difference in the long term when it comes to longevity, reliability, and maintenance bills.

Especially when it comes to the axles and transmissions. Any honest transmission shop will tell you they would be out of business if people changed their transmission fluid every 30,000 miles.


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Of course if I total this bastard within a few years, I did all that maintenance for naught!

Even a manual transmission, taking gear oil and using full synthetic? That should be changed every 30k?
 

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Of course if I total this bastard within a few years, I did all that maintenance for naught!



Even a manual transmission, taking gear oil and using full synthetic? That should be changed every 30k?


Yep on the transmission. I do notice the shifting is smoother with synthetic.

One thing to keep in mind. With a vehicle that has used petroleum products for a long time, there may be hidden leaks that will rear their head if you switch to synthetic because of their cleaning properties. So don’t be surprised if you start getting a bunch of leaks if you decide to switch.


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Mike Tonon

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Just asked the dealer a ton of questions and got answers to some. One of which was how much fluid does the Ranger power steering system hold. They claim 2.1 pints. Seems low to me, but that’s what they had in their computer.
 

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Just asked the dealer a ton of questions and got answers to some. One of which was how much fluid does the Ranger power steering system hold. They claim 2.1 pints. Seems low to me, but that’s what they had in their computer.
That doesn't sound unreasonable actually. I think that is about what my '98 took when I had to replace the rusted out lines on the rack.
 

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That doesn't sound unreasonable actually. I think that is about what my '98 took when I had to replace the rusted out lines on the rack.
It’s only 1.05 quarts. It seems like the reservoir would take half of that and isn’t the rack and pinion area filled with ATF, too?
 

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It’s only 1.05 quarts. It seems like the reservoir would take half of that and isn’t the rack and pinion area filled with ATF, too?
That's why they sell it by the quart.:icon_twisted:
 

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It’s only 1.05 quarts. It seems like the reservoir would take half of that and isn’t the rack and pinion area filled with ATF, too?
There is a quite a bit in the rack as well as the lines, cooler (if you have one), and the pump. Half being in the rack and the other half in the reservoir might be right. All I remember for sure is that I bought two quarts for the line replacement. How much I actually used, I can't remember and wasn't overly concerned since I could use the rest later for the steering system or the transmission later on.
 

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There is a quite a bit in the rack as well as the lines, cooler (if you have one), and the pump. Half being in the rack and the other half in the reservoir might be right. All I remember for sure is that I bought two quarts for the line replacement. How much I actually used, I can't remember and wasn't overly concerned since I could use the rest later for the steering system or the transmission later on.
The rack actually doesn't hold that much. I'd guess the amount that is in the rack itself at any given time is about 1/4 to 1/3 of the system's capacity.

It's not unreasonable to think that a system with no cooler has half or more of it's total capacity in the reservoir and pump.
 


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