Power steering fluid is one of the most essential hydraulic fluids for your vehicle. This type of fluid generally lubricates the moving parts of the steering system. Moreover, the power steering fluid reduces the energy required for turning the wheels. Many people don’t change the power steering fluid unless they face difficulties.
So, you might be confused about whether the power steering fluid can go bad or expire. If the fluid has an expiry date, you should change it from time to time. But if not, you have to find other ways to know the fluid’s condition. Knowing details about power steering fluid will help you drive the vehicle more efficiently.
Can power steering fluid go bad or expire?
Generally, the power steering fluid doesn’t have an expiry date or shelf life. You can use the fluid for many days. But power steering fluid can go bad or break down for different reasons. Problems in the steering system might make the fluid bad. But power steering fluid doesn’t expire quickly.
However, the power steering fluid in a bottle has a chance to go bad if the bottle is opened for a long time. Because once the bottle is opened, it is exposed to moisture and moisture might make the fluid go out of date.
Moreover, if you don’t change the power steering fluid for a long time and there is a problem in the steering system, the fluid might go bad over time.
Generally, power steering fluid absorbs water like most other fluids. So, whenever there is a leakage in the steering system or moisture, the power steering fluid will absorb the water or moisture and will be damaged quickly.
Sometimes, the sealing of the hydraulic fluid system might be damaged. So, the steering system will be contaminated with environmental elements. These contaminants will also make the steering fluid bad.
Moreover, the breakdown of the steering fluid is another issue. But if there is no problem with the hydraulic fluid system or steering system, the power steering fluid will last a long time. So, the power steering fluid doesn’t have an exact expiry date.
How does power steering fluid go bad?
Now that you know power steering fluid goes bad, you might be confused about how this fluid goes bad. Generally, the power steering fluid doesn’t go bad on its own and it doesn’t have an expiry date. But some other reasons might be responsible for this. So, let’s see how power steering fluid goes bad.
One of the most common reasons for power steering fluid to go bad is oxidation. Generally, oxidation occurs because of a reaction with oxygen. So, whenever the fluid goes close to oxygen, it might get oxidation.
Moreover, power steering fluid is stored in bottles. So, once you open the bottle and keep it for a long time, the fluid might come close to moisture. So, this way the power steering fluid also goes bad.
Sometimes, the lid of the power steering fluid container is loose. So, contamination of oxygen absorption is possible. Moreover, if the container is not sealed properly, it might face oxidation.
Contamination is another way how power steering fluid goes bad. Generally, many parts of the steering system wear out and the small deposited particles contaminate the power steering fluid.
Until you flush or renew the fluid, contamination will not go away. Moreover, contamination can also occur in some other ways. For example, if there is a leakage in the power steering system, the fluid might get contaminated by environmental elements.
Old power steering fluid:
Generally, the power steering fluid can run for many days without any problem. But if you don’t flush the fluid from time to time, or the fluid is very old, it might lose its effectiveness. For example, the viscosity of the fluid will be imbalanced or foam might form in the fluid. This way the power steering fluid can also go bad.
Does power steering fluid break down over time?
Yes, the power steering fluid breaks down over time. Generally, fresh power steering fluid has some properties that might reduce over time. For example, if you keep using the old power steering fluid for a long time, foam might form in the fluid. Thus the fluid loses its effectiveness.
Moreover, the power steering fluid might lose its proper viscosity over time. When a fluid loses its viscosity, the fluid becomes very thin. So, the power steering fluid will become thin and eventually break down.
Besides, if you don’t flush the fluid over time, it will break down eventually. So, the power steering fluid breaks down over time for several reasons.
Does opened power steering fluid go bad?
Yes, an opened power steering fluid goes bad. When we use a power steering fluid, we pour it from a bottle. So, when we open the bottle, some air and moisture contents come close to the fluid.
You might know that most fluids absorb moisture. So, once the power steering fluid bottle is opened, it will contain oxygen, air, and moisture. So, there is a greater chance that the power steering fluid will go bad over time.
But when you use freshly opened power steering fluid, it will not go bad quickly.
How long does power steering fluid last once opened?
When you open the power steering fluid and store it properly, it will last for 2-3 years. Generally, how long the power steering fluid will last depends on the storage and sealing. If there is a leakage that will induce air or contaminants, the fluid will not last long.
But if you seal the fluid container well, it will not come close to air or contaminants. Sometimes, the power steering fluid doesn’t last even one year. Because the fluid is highly contaminated or has broken down for some reason.
So, if you keep the fluid out of moisture and properly sealed after opening, it will last up to 3 years.
How to check if power steering fluid is bad?
A bad power steering fluid will cause many difficulties to drive. You might not drive smoothly and the overall performance of the car will reduce. So, you need to check the power steering fluid regularly. Let’s see how you can check if the power steering fluid is bad.
At first, checking whether there are bubbles in the fluid or not is the easiest way. Because you will see visually about the condition of power steering fluid. If you see large bubbles in the fluid or foamy power steering fluid, the fluid is bad.
Next, you can check the color of the power steering fluid. Sometimes, when the power steering fluid is oxidized or contaminated, it will change color. So, if you notice that the fluid has changed color, you need to change the fluid.
The power steering fluid is one of the most essential hydraulic fluids of the steering system. So, any problem with the steering fluid will affect the system. If you face difficulty while changing the steering stage or the system, your steering fluid has gone bad.
Another way to check the power steering fluid is by checking the dipstick. The dipstick will indicate the level and stage of the fluid. If the dipstick indicates that the fluid is not at the proper level or stage, the fluid is bad.
How often to change power steering fluid?
Generally, the power steering fluid doesn’t go bad quickly. So, you can change the fluid after two years. Sometimes, people want to change the fluid regularly to drive smoothly. So, you can change the fluid every 50,000 miles.
Otherwise, you can change the fluid every two years if there is no other problem with the steering system.
What happens if you don’t change your power steering fluid?
The power steering fluid lasts long. But that doesn’t mean that you will not change the fluid regularly. If you don’t change the power steering fluid, some problems might arise. So, let’s see what happens if you don’t change your power steering fluid.
Corrosion and contamination:
If you don’t change the power steering fluid, the power steering parts will corrode and the debris and rust will contaminate the other parts of the steering system.
Damage of steering parts:
When you don’t change the power steering fluid when needed, the poor quality fluid will damage different steering parts eventually.
The power steering fluid works also as lubricating material. So, if you don’t change the bad fluid, it will make the steering system difficult.
Power steering fluid will go bad for different reasons. Sometimes, contamination will make the fluid bad or break down the fluid. Moreover, once opened, the fluid will go bad eventually. Besides, oxidation of the fluid will make it unusable. You might face difficulties if the fluid goes bad.