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How much power steering fluid?

84680 Views 44 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  john-john
So my power steering fluid is not as clean looking as I would like so I plan to change it. How much do I need?

Thank You.
(searched and didn't see any of the DIYs showing how much fluid I will actually need)
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I'm embarrassed to say that I don't think I have actually changed the power steering fluid ever. At least I can't find any record of doing it until today.

The 12oz bottles of fluid are very cheap from the dealer. A Baster makes a great tool for removing the fluid out of the reservoir. Grab an empty can of soda which is also 12oz and fill it with the fluid you pull from the reservoir. Fill that up and you know you know that you have enough fluid on hand to refill.

What shocked me is that while the fresh fluid was clear, the old fluid looked more like dirty ATF.
Going to lower a q tip into the reservoir in a few days to see what color the fluid is now. Then decide whether to repeat the exercise.
 

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Don't know exactly how much fluid is needed, but I usually use 2 bottles and spread them out over a couple of weeks. I get as much as I can out of the reservoir, refill, drive for a couple of days, and repeat until all 2 bottles are gone. No point of saving the fluid.
 

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I'm embarrassed to say that I don't think I have actually changed the power steering fluid ever. At least I can't find any record of doing it until today.

The 12oz bottles of fluid are very cheap from the dealer. A Baster makes a great tool for removing the fluid out of the reservoir. Grab an empty can of soda which is also 12oz and fill it with the fluid you pull from the reservoir. Fill that up and you know you know that you have enough fluid on hand to refill.

What shocked me is that while the fresh fluid was clear, the old fluid looked more like dirty ATF.
Going to lower a q tip into the reservoir in a few days to see what color the fluid is now. Then decide whether to repeat the exercise.
+1 This weekend I changed the ATF, engine oil, bled the brakes, tire rotation, antifreze change, and changed the power steering fluid on my 2005 Honda Accord. What I used was exactly what Rocky mentioned. I took our turkey baster, added a 1/4 inch clear tube and then commensed to suctioning out the power steering fluid from the reservoir. I used one Prestone synthetic power steering fluid bottle. The fluid I removed was put into the oil container I dropped off at Autozone.
 

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Just checked the reservoir and definitely going to get some more fluid. The fluid is cleaner but still dirty.
Btw removing the top off the Baster gives you a good funnel to pour the fluid back in.
 

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OEM PS Fluid?

Maybe a silly question, but I've been told to only use Honda fluid in the power steering (and it wasn't by a dealer). Is this really important or can I use any stuff I buy in there? It's a 2003 with 200K miles on it, so not real concerned about it overall...
 

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Maybe a silly question, but I've been told to only use Honda fluid in the power steering (and it wasn't by a dealer). Is this really important or can I use any stuff I buy in there? It's a 2003 with 200K miles on it, so not real concerned about it overall...
The factory fill has kept the pump lubricated and the seals pliable enough not to leak for 12 years and 200K miles, sure you can probably use anything, . . . maybe . . . . :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
 

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And it's not even the seals that are leaking - the fluid is weeping out of the metal line (looks like a break line). The bottom of it is getting rusted out and I'll have to replace it, if I don't get a new Pilot and scrap this one first...
 

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I unhooked the hose to the cooler with my friend turning the steering end to end with the pilot ON while I added fluid to the reservoir as needed till the coming out of the cooler got clear, used 4 bottles and I also did replace the "0" ring. No more winter noise and disobedience when turning ( be careful the fluid ejects with force, there is no need to take a P.S. shower)
 
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Yes replace that line.
The fluid is flammable.
No toasted Pilots allowed !
Well that's not good - I guess I'll have to get it taken care of sooner rather then later.

Now regarding the fluid, my wife offered to stop at AutoZone and pick up the fluid while she was out. When she asked the woman at the counter what kind of vehicle she told her it was a Honda and she grabbed AutoZone "Honda" fluid and said it was best to use that, so she bought it. $5.09 versus $2.99 for the regular stuff... Never knew a store like AutoZone has their own stuff specifying Honda on the label too - kind of weird and not really sure if it was worth the extra $.
 

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According to the factory service manual the PS system's total capacity is about 1.2qt (reservoir capacity is about 0.4qt) so theoretically 3 bottles of the factory fluid should be sufficient to completely flush the system.

I did the "lazy" flush today: suck everything out of the reservoir, re-fill it, and then turned on the engine and moved the steering wheel from lock to lock 3 times to circulate the fluid. Even after repeating the re-fill thing 3 times (I used 3 bottles) the fluid left in the reservoir is still dark, so I guess my lazy method isn't working well.

Next time I'm going to just man up and disconnect the return hose (goes into the side of the reservoir) and drain it into a bucket. I don't like to turn on the engine to run the pump since the engine will turn the pump way too fast which could suck air into the system. The power steering pump itself appears to be pretty easy to loosen from the belt. Once the PS belt is loosened I think I'll crank the power steering pump manually (without trying to turn the whole engine) to flush the fluid that way. I've done the "manually turn the pump" method on my other car and it does completely flush the system.

The Pilot has plenty of ground clearance so it should be quite easy to disconnect the return line from below. I'll try to take some pics and report back.
 

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To do a flush you simply disconnect your return line from the power steering reservoir and drain the thing. Then stick a long clear 3/8"OD tube into the return line and run it down to a empty 2-liter soda bottle. Use some tape to secure the hose into the bottle so it can't fall out when fluid comes squirting out.

Once you're ready, turn on the car and steer the wheel back & forth until you can no longer turn the wheel (the pump will get loud when it sucks air). This forces the old fluid out into the soda bottle. Have the bottle and hose secure cause it comes out with a bit of force. Sucking air into the system is perfectly fine and no damage will be done to anything.

Now re-connect your return line to the reservoir and fill it with fresh fluid. Start the engine and steer back & forth, then get out and top off the reservoir. Do this a couple times until the fluid level stays topped off. You can also have an assistant in the car steering back & forth as you add fluid. The pump may still make noise until you finally shut the car off and let the foamy fluid settle. This allows tiny air bubbles in the fluid to collect into large ones. Then the next time you start, they will get pumped back to the reservoir for good (noise for only a short period when you 1st start the car)

If you want to really get all the old fluid out, you can repeat this entire process twice and flush your new cleaner fluid one more time. This will really clean out the system, but it's probably unnecessary.

1 flush requires at least 2 bottles of Honda PS fluid
2 flush requires about 4 bottles of Honda PS fluid

Honda Power Steering Fluid Change - YouTube
 

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I used the horse syringe method this past weekend and 3 OEM bottles wasn’t enough to get the ps fluid back to looking like new. It went from dark molasses to medium molasses color. I figure good enough for now. Next time I’ll order 5 bottles.
 

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I did the flush method with the return line disconnected in to a catch can. The fluid was very dirty and my PS pump was noisy. I also replaced the reservoir tank as well since I wanted to change the filter. I used 6 bottles of Honda PS fluid.


With the return line disconnected in to the catch can, I drained the reservoir with a turkey baster and removed it. Once the new reservoir was in, I filled it, had my son start the car and work the wheel all the way right and left a couple times while I added fluid. Once it returned clear to the catch can, I reattached the return line, added more fluid and repeated the right lock left lock turns adding fluid until the level was up to full and all air was purged from the system.


I still have noise from the pump, mainly in cold weather, but there are no bubbles in the fluid. I'm thinking the pump is just worn a bit after 180K and it will be replaced with I do my next timing belt service.
 

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Thanks for the info. If I can convince my wife or kids to help out next time I might give that a try. If I can’t do you know if you jack the front wheels up and just turn the steering wheel from lock to lock (engine off) how much of the ps system gets exercised?
 

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You need the Pilot running to have the PS pump pushing fluid through the system. On our CRV, I've done it by myself. It takes a bit longer since you are shuffling back and forth between adding fluid and turning the wheel but it is doable. Just keep an eye on the fluid in the reservoir and you should be fine.
 
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