How do I …Check my power steering and windshield wiper fluids
A car’s power-steering system allows you to turn the steering wheel with little effort, making it easier to drive and navigate turns. The power-steering fluid helps the system run smoothly.
In this column, our third about how to check the liquids in your vehicle, we take a close look at power steering and wiper fluids.
A car’s power-steering system allows you to turn the steering wheel with little effort, making it easier to drive and navigate turns. The power-steering fluid helps the system run smoothly. Too little or using the wrong type can damage the system overtime and lead to costly repairs.
The location of the fluid reservoir can differ from vehicle to vehicle—more so than the other fluids we have looked at—so it is best to consult your car owner’s manual to locate it. The manual will also help you to verify what type of power-steering fluid is recommended for your vehicle.
Typically, the reservoir is a clear container with a black cap. The “min” and “max” indicators may also be on the outside of the container to make it easier to judge its level. If opening the tank is required, it is good to check the level using a dipstick. Like other fluids, remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, then reinsert and pull it out again for an accurate reading. It is also recommended that you also check the colour of the liquid. Typically, power-steering fluid is red or pink. If the fluid appears very dark and filled with debris, a change is recommended. Again, it is best to check the owner’s manual for instructions on how to do that.
Last, we move on to windshield wiper fluid— also known as windshield washer fluid — which has a pretty self-explanatory purpose. Ensure that your car is parked on a level surface, and that the hood is cool enough for you to rest your hand on. Once the car is cool, open the hood and find the fluid reservoir. It is normally located near the back of the engine bay, near the windshield. The reservoir is usually translucent, allowing you to roughly judge the fluid level without opening it.
If the tank is less than half-full it needs to be filled to the “full” mark. The reservoir lid is designed to screw on and off, allowing you to add the amount of fluid needed. Using a funnel will reduce the risk of spills. Recap the reservoir after you are done, close the hood and then test the fluid levels. Turn your car on or into “accessory” mode and turn your windshield wipers on. When the tank is full, you should get a steady stream of liquid. If not, there may be an issue, like a leak ore a clogged washer nozzle or lines.
If you missed a part of this series, you can find it all on Wheels.ca – Torstar News Services