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Why Proper Power Steering Fluid Maintenance Is Crucial

Discussion in 'Freedom Motorsports' started by Freedom Motorsports, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Freedom Motorsports

    Freedom Motorsports SyntheticMotorsports Supporting Vendor Supporting Member

    Likes Received:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Galax, Virginia
    Why Proper Power Steering Fluid Maintenance Is Crucial

    The proper power steering fluid maintenance is crucial for optimal performance of and overall life span of the entire braking systems in light trucks from GM, Ford, Dodge Toyota for several reasons. To fully understand why proper maintenance of the power steering fluid, we must go over how the system works.

    Many late model cars trucks and suv’s utilize a “HyrdoBoost” unit to provide a better source for the brake assist that helps to maintain pressure for proper operation of the brake fluid master cylinder. The older brake booster systems for the most part utilized vacuum pressure from the engine itself and as a result, uneven braking situations could occur at low speeds, on hills or otherwise if you have engine idle issues or power loss due to issues with the carburetor or even with EFI. The hydro boost system utilizes pressure from the power steering pump to maintain proper pressure more evenly. The hydro boost systems provide consistently firmer brake pedal feel that will not fade quite as quickly as with a vacuum brake booster.

    Newer power steering fluid actuated hydro boost unit.

    Older style vacuum actuated hydraulic brake booster.

    The regular operation of the hydro boost systems creates a good amount of heat generated. It is this heat that is the main reason for the low interval break down of the power steering fluid. Power steering fluid breaks down quicker than any other fluid in our trucks. When it breaks down it loses its viscosity while also building condensation that will help to further the thinning process. When the power steering fluid breaks down it can no longer lubricate and cool the power steering hydro boost system. This leads to premature failure of power steering high-pressure lines, pumps and the hydro boost units themselves. Another effect of power steering fluid break down is a mushy brake pedal, and poor caliper performance. We all know how it feels to be attempting to stop, more so on a down hill stop and we hit the brake pedal and have to take it half way to the floor or “through the floor” before the vehicle wants to stop. This is most commonly a result of power steering fluid that has not been properly maintained.

    I have a “theory” that the overall life expectancy of power steering fluid may be a result of driving habits as much as it is for the power steering fluid itself. Synthetic fluids are always recommended in late model light trucks, they are formulated to provide better cooling and lubricity than conventional power steering fluid and resist thermal break down better than conventional fluid.

    Those folks that live either in the mountains or urban areas with a lot of stop and go traffic tend to experience thermal break down of their power steering fluid at shorter mileage intervals than those that live out in predominantly flat wide open areas. The reason for this is the need for those in the mountains, etc to brake more often. In stop and go traffic we are always speeding up, slowing down turning, etc. This constant workout keeps the power steering pump and hydro boost unit hotter than say highway or wide open country driving. This is especially prevalent when combined with driving habits where we either ride the brakes a lot or hard stop from higher speed giving ourselves less braking distance than we should.

    In these types of environments, I recommend at least checking your power steering fluid every three months for change in color and smell. When the power steering fluid begins to darken in color and or has a burnt smell then it is bad. It needs to be fully flushed at this point. Fully flushing the power steering and hydro boost systems is fairly easy to do and costs very little. Even with the best synthetic fluids on the market, when you compare the cost of flushing your power steering fluid at whatever interval is right for your driving habits and lifestyle, keeping it flushed regularly will save you money down the road. The seals and gears in the power steering pump and hydro boost unit will be more consistently protected from excessive heat and lack of proper lubrication.

    Click here to learn how to flush your power steering fluid, this procedure, while performed on a Silverado 2500HD Duramax is pretty much the same procedure for all light trucks with hydro boost systems.

    The flushing procedure is basically the same for GM, Ford and Dodge power steering fluid hydro boost equipped trucks. When flushing your power steering hydro boost system for the first time, if your truck has 50K miles or more you will want to run about four quarts of power steering fluid through the system to ensure that you clean out as much of the old fluid as possible. Once flushed the first time, go ahead and keep an eye on it about once a month at the least because your first interval may be shortened by contamination from the remnant of the old fluid. I would at least change it the second time within three months and every six months after that at the very least to ensure proper performance and longevity of your overall power steering hydro boost system. It is a small price to pay when you consider that the power steering pump itself, when purchased with a new reservoir tank will cost you at least $2-250 or more and the hydro boost units can cost anywhere from $4-600, all depending on where you purchase new parts. The high pressure lines, a common fault point in the systems because of developing leaks where the hose part of the lines meets the metal crimped part of the lines can cost up to $90 to replace depending on where you get them.

    When you consider the fact that maybe spending between $15-25 per flush every three to six months to help to prevent premature failure of any of these parts is a wise investment. Especially for those folks who run larger than stock wheel and tire packages.

    Click here for AMSOIL Power Steering Fluid technical and purchasing information.
    AMSOIL - Synthetic Universal Power Steering Fluid (PSF)

    Click here to contact me about AMSOIL wholesale purchasing options.
    [email protected]

    Or post your questions in below for a more immediate answer.

    originally posted here
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012

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