Power steering is an absolute must in almost all automobiles these days. Without it, you’ll have a serious problem when you’re trying to turn the steering wheel. When bubbles start to form, it prevents your system from getting the amount of fluid that it should.
To get air out of your power steering system, you have to follow these steps:
- Run a hose from the bleed valve once the car is cooled off.
- Run the other end of the hose to a pan and let the air drain out of the tube.
- Turn the car on and rotate the steering wheel both ways to get the fluid moving.
- Remove the hose, close the valve, and top off the power steering with extra fluid.
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn an in-depth guide to get the air out of your power steering system, symptoms that might be a sign of power steering bubbles, and the possible dangers involved.
How Do You Remove Air From Power Steering?
If you have air bubbles in your power steering system, you should immediately remove them. The good news is that it’s not too difficult, and you don’t need very many tools.
To prepare yourself, get your hands on a power steering bleed hose. Try out the OEM Tools Kit to get everything you need. Otherwise, you can just get a hose at your local hardware store that matches the dimensions of your vehicle’s bleed valve.
Once you have everything you need, park your car on a level surface. Follow the steps below to bleed the air out of your power steering system:
- Find the bleed valve for your power steering fluid. You can do this by following the main hose from the power steering fluid area. Once you locate it, run the hose mentioned above from the bleed valve to the front or side of your vehicle. This placement will allow you to have full control over the bleeding.
- Run the other end of the hose to a pan to collect all of the power steering fluid that comes out. You should make sure that the hose is long enough to fit inside of the pan without flopping around. If you’re able to, ask a friend to hold or monitor the other end of the hose.
- Get in your vehicle, turn it on, and begin turning the steering wheel slowly. Go back and forth, making sure that you push it all the way to the left, then to the right. This motion will remove the power steering fluid, causing the air to follow through the hose with it. You’ll drain a significant amount of fluid, so make sure you have new fluid to use after.
- Turn off the vehicle, cap off your power steering fluid, remove the hose, and tighten the valve. You can open the cap back again once you’ve followed the rest of the suggestions from this step.
- Fill the power steering reservoir with fluid up to the fill line. Make sure you use the right kind of fluid, as all vehicles call for a different type. There’s no such thing as a ‘one fluid fits all vehicles’ solution.
- Finally, drive your car around the block, taking several turns along the way. It’s important to warm up the system with new power steering fluid. While this step is optional, most experienced car gurus will tell you that it’s important to fill the hoses and get it working properly.
As you can see, it’s not too complex of a process. As long as you follow every step down to the last detail, it’ll take you less than 20 minutes from start to finish. The only time you’ll run into problems is if you try to cut corners or rush the draining and driving part.
Note: Wait for your vehicle to cool off before you get started. If you try to work on the power steering while it’s on, you could risk serious bodily harm. It’s best to wait for an hour or so. If you live in a warm climate, try to find some shade to let the system cool down completely.
Symptoms of Air in Power Steering System
Perhaps the most concerning issue with having air in your power steering system is that there aren’t very many symptoms. You might have a serious problem on your hands without even knowing it.
However, there are three specific signs that you can listen to, smell, and look out for while you’re operating the vehicle. The next time you drive your car, try the suggestions below to know if you need to remove air from the power steering system.
- Listen to the sound of your vehicle when you turn. If it’s loud and groaning when you turn the steering wheel hard, then you might have a power steering problem.
- Look underneath your car when you’re parked for a while to see if there’s a leak. Leaks not only remove fluid, but they also allow air inside. It’s a clear-amber color for almost all solutions.
- Power steering fluid smells like burnt marshmallows. If you smell that unique odor when you’re driving or parked, you might want to have a mechanic check it out.
Power steering fluid is flammable, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly when there’s a leak or air bubbles are inside. Best case scenario, it makes your steering a bit more challenging. Worst case scenario, your car catches on fire… Both of which can be avoided by following the step-by-step guide in this post.
Remember to always let your car cool off before you start working, and use the proper hoses for the job. Otherwise, you’ll end up spilling fluid all over your engine.
Despite the seemingly intimidating nature of dealing with power steering air bubbles, it’s actually one of the easiest car repairs that you can do. You can also save money by DIYing it!