I am often asked, especially by clients with over 10 years of car ownership experience, why it is necessary to service the power steering system. They are skeptical because they’ve never had to do it for vehicles they’d owned in the past. It’s a good question. Years ago cars did not require power steering systems to be flushed or serviced in order to operate properly. But in today's cars, power steering fluid flushes have become the most overlooked element of auto maintenance.
For years power steering was a luxury option usually found only in high-end cars like Mercedes, Lincolns, and BMWs. Even as power steering became a more commonly equipped option, auto manufacturers didn’t include it in their recommended service schedules. Recently, however, servicing the power steering system has become an important procedure in preventing costly future repairs.
Power Steering Systems Operate Under Considerably More Pressure Than They Did In The Past.
This is due to the much smaller rack and pinion units that are found in today's vehicles. The smaller racks are great for manufacturers because of the reduced curb weight and lower production cost benefits. However, these smaller units require up to 2500 psi of pressure to operate properly. This is much more than the 500 psi that was required by older systems.
The new, smaller, racks are great for efficiency. They also fit better in the space constrained front-wheel-drive cars. Unfortunately they do have their share of negative side effects as well. The additional pressure raises the operating temperature of the fluid to about 178 degrees Fahrenheit. Over time this causes the fluid to become burnt, discolored and oxidized. Add to that the contaminants that naturally accrue over time and the result is fluid that simply does not last forever.
What About My Warranty?
Servicing your Power Steering System will not adversely affect your factory warranty. In fact, when performed by a BG Authorized Dealer, you can actually receive a Lifetime BG Protection Plan™ at no additional charge. The protection plan is available even if your factory warranty has expired! You qualify if your vehicle has less than 75,000 miles when the service if first performed. Then simply have it done every 30,000 miles thereafter and it will remain in effect as long as you own your car!
Contaminated fluid is harmful to the power steering system in several ways.
Dirty fluid is thicker than clean, fresh fluid, causing the steering components to work harder than they should. This can lead to premature failure of those parts. Burnt, oxidized power steering fluid is also very stressful to seals and is the leading cause of seal failure. Furthermore, burnt fluid also contributes to the failure of the high pressure lines and causes the rubber to deteriorate from the inside out.
How Often Should I Have It Done?
We strongly encourage this service after the vehicle odometer has reached 60,000 miles. As your car continues to age its also a good idea to have it done every 30,000 miles thereafter. Considering that the average steering repair costs between $600 and $1000, routine preventative maintenance is a sound investment.
Flushing the power steering system on a regular basis is the single best way to maximize the life expectancy of your car’s steering components. Contact Exit5 Auto Group at 518-541-5000 to schedule an appointment with one of our certified technicians.