Should I Service My Power Steering Fluid?

Whether you drive a BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Mini, Audi, or Volkswagen, your vehicle most likely has power assisted steering. Some models prior to 1990 used manual steering and can be easily identified by the oversized steering wheel by today’s standards. The power steering system on your Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi, or Volkswagen is comprised of several key components including a power steering pump, filter, power steering rack (pinion), fluid cooler and a power steering fluid reservoir. These components work together circulating hydraulic (power steering fluid) to generate the power steering assist. Driving your BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Audi, or Volkswagen is virtually impossible with the power steering system disabled.

In a power steering system, the hydraulic or power steering fluid is pressurized by the power steering pump which is most often driven by a drive belt and series of pulleys on the front of the engine. The pressurized fluid applies pressure on a piston within the power steering rack to help move the wheels right and left as you turn the steering wheel. For this system to work properly, the power steering fluid must be clean and at the right level.

Over time, like all hydraulic fluids, the fluid becomes contaminated with dirt and debris. O-rings and seals within the system begin to break down and material from bearings and sleeves also contaminate the fluid. When this starts to happen, the power steering pump on your BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Audi, or Volkswagen has to work much harder to circulate the fluid.  This situation unchecked will lead to expensive component failures. Like any other fluid on your vehicle, the simplest solution is to service the power steering system by draining or flushing the old fluid and replacing it with the proper fluid. The power steering fluid is the least expensive component within your BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Audi, or Volkswagen’s power steering system.

How do I know the proper fluid to use?

Earlier models primarily used mineral based power-steering fluids. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or visit the experts here at German Auto Center. BMW began using a synthetic power steering fluid in the early 90s. Today’s vehicles predominately use synthetic power steering fluid which cannot be mixed with the earlier mineral based fluid. This is critical as mineral based fluid will damage the O-rings and seals within a system that is designed for synthetic fluid. Most systems requiring a synthetic power steering fluid will have a green cap and warning label on the power steering reservoir. Again, this is not 100% the case, so be sure to check your owner’s manual. But don’t worry about DIY–German Auto Center can handle maintenance, service and repair for you.

Whether you drive a Porsche, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Mini, Volkswagen or Audi, it is important to remember that with proper maintenance and care, today’s German performance vehicles will serve you for many years to come. At German Auto Center, we focus not only on Austin repair for BMW, Mini, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Mercedes Benz, but we also offer lifetime maintenance and service. If you have any questions, simply come by and visit Austin German automobile repair experts at German Auto Center. We will be happy to assist you!