Power Steering Fluid - slefLX
Ok, stupid female questions here but I'll ask anyway at the risk of sounding dumb!

I read recently that the Power Steering Fluid should be changed every 2 years or so. Firstly what is the reaon for that? (it may have been within whatever I read but I don't know now)

The other thing is, how do I know if it needs changing? My car is about 4 and a half years old and I've had it for just over a year (14 months). Presumably the PSF should have been changed at 2 years and 4 years but I don't know if it's ever been done, it certainly wasn't done at it's 4th birthday as I had it then and it came without any service history so I don't know what's been done previously. I decided to check the PSF last weekend, more out of curiosity than anything else but I couldn't get the screw-cap off the container (helpfully labelled so at least I know WHERE it is even if I don't know anything else about it). I don't even know what it should look like if I did get the cap off so that was pretty fruitless anyway. What would be the symptoms I might find while I was driving if anything was seriously wrong with it?

Sorry that's so long and waffly, I just like to know about things and I realised this was one area of the car I know nothing about. As far as I'm aware there is nothing wrong with my power steering at the moment so this all these questions are really just a quest for knowledge and hopefully to be able to spot any problems before they become major issues.

I read it somewhere - can't remember where.
Power Steering Fluid - slefLX
whoops, re-reading that maybe it should've gone into "Technical" but this is really the only part of the Back Room I read which is why it's in here.
I read it somewhere - can't remember where.
Power Steering Fluid - Perturbed
The reason it should be changed is that it is "hydroscopic" (that means it absorbs water) Brake fluid does the same thing and it should be changed as well every two years or so. Don't know what the effect on power steering fluid would be, but with brakes it can lead to decreased efficiency and fade, so I would assume PSF would be similar.
Power Steering Fluid - Dynamic Dave
Are you sure you're not getting PSF mixed up with changing the antifreeze or brake fluid at 2 yr intervals?
Power Steering Fluid - THe Growler
To be honest I have never changed PSF in my or any of my vehicles' lives.

Surely the manual or even a call to the dealer will clarify.

Out here they regard auto trans fluid the same as PSF when you want to top up/change, although STP and I guess others too do make a specicic PSF. As for hygroscopic brake fluid I think Dot 5 gets over this problem and doesn't eat your paintwork either.
Power Steering Fluid - CMark {P}
Hi SlefLX,
You might have read about changing PAS fluid here
www.honestjohn.co.uk/motoring_answers/index.htm?id...2 but none of the driver's handbooks I have ever read mention an interval for changing the PAS fluid. The only time I changed the PAS fluid was when we brought our 4x4 [1] back to Europe after 3 very dusty years in West Africa, and even then it was a perhaps over-the-top precaution, as the PAS filter should have removed all foreign particles.

If there were something wrong with your PAS system's hydraulics you will still be able to steer the car, however the steering effort would be tremendously heavy. As far as I know, most PAS fluid is NOT hydroscopic.

My 1996 Grand Cherokee driver's handbook states: "Fluid type - use only petroleum based fluids specially formulated for minimum effect on rubber hoses. MOPAR power steering fluid is a fluid of this type and is recommended. Do NOT use automatic transmission fluid."

Hope this helps,
[1] 1994 Mercedes G-wagon
Power Steering Fluid - slefLX
Thanks for all that, so basically don't worry about the PAS fluid that's ok then. What's more worrying from my point of view is that I hadn't realised you were supposed to change the brake fluid every 2 years and also I only had a vague awareness about changing the antifreeze. This is my 2nd car but it's the first I've been willing to do any maintenance on so these things are starting to rear their ugly heads. I suppose I should get these changed at it's next service then when I've had the car for 2 years and at least I know then what's been done and when.

Another (possibly) stupid question, how often does the cambelt need changing? (something else I've read about) If that's car-dependent mine's a 1.25 Fiesta.

"I read it somewhere - can't remember where."

Value my car