Updated at: 13-07-2022 - By: Lucas

Unlike vehicles of yesteryear that were hard to steer, virtually all vehicles on today’s roads have power steering.

But because these steering systems need hydraulic fluid to work, not having enough fluid can make steering a car much harder than we’d like.

If you’ve noticed some changes to your vehicle’s steering and think you may need power steering fluid, we’ve got some signs that indicate you’re probably right.

These are some of the most common signs that you need power steering fluid:

It is harder to turn the steering wheel.

Stains or Puddles Under Your Vehicle

When you turn the wheel, it makes a lot of noise.

Noisy Steering

Steering Wheel Feels Jerky or Jumpy

Vibrating Steering Wheel

Your car sounds like a pig in heat.

For a full explanation of each of these indicators that you need power steering fluid, just keep reading.

Signs You Need Power Steering Fluid

How To Know If Power Steering Fluid Is Low-3

Steering Wheel is Harder to Turn

If you’re used to driving your car with a steering wheel that you can turn right or left with almost no effort, getting behind the wheel and finding that it’s almost impossible to turn is a clear sign that your vehicle needs power steering fluid.

Fortunately, unless your vehicle experiences a major and sudden leak, most vehicles lose power steering fluid gradually.

So, a steering wheel that is harder to turn may seem like something that just happened, but we can guarantee that it has been getting worse for a long time.

Stains or Puddles Under Your Vehicle

If you notice that your steering wheel is getting harder to turn, you might want to check out what’s going on under your car.

If you move your car a few feet and see stains or puddles in your driveway or wherever you are at the time, this means that your power steering fluid is leaking.

Even though the fluid you see on the ground could be oil or coolant, if you’ve been having trouble steering recently, we think it’s power steering fluid.

As soon as you see stains or puddles under your car, have it checked out. If you don’t, you might have even more trouble in the future.

Loud Screeching When You Turn the Wheel

Since the power steering fluid in your car keeps the steering system from getting too dry, if you run out of it, things start to get a little too dry under the hood.

If you turn your steering wheel and hear sounds like someone dragging their fingernails across a chalkboard, this is also a sign that your power steering fluid is low.

If you’ve ever heard cats fighting and making high-pitched screams, the sound you hear under the hood of your car might remind you of this.

No matter what, you don’t want to hear these sounds when you’re driving.

Noisy Steering

Even if you don’t hear screeching noises when you turn your steering wheel, your car may make all kinds of strange noises that mean your power steering fluid level is too low.

Knocking and banging noises, which sound like someone is hitting something under your hood, are often signs of this problem.

Most of the time, you will hear these kinds of sounds when you are driving very slowly, like when you are looking for a parking spot.

Steering Wheel Feels Jerky or Jumpy

You want it to feel easy and smooth when you turn your steering wheel.

If you turn the wheel and it feels jerky or like it wants to jump out of your hands, it’s likely that your car’s power steering fluid reservoir is empty or has very little fluid in it.

Just like when you hear strange knocking and banging sounds, your steering wheel will jerk and jump the most when you are driving very slowly or when your car is completely still.

If your steering wheel feels like it’s about to take control of itself, it can be very scary. Check your power steering fluid reservoir right away and add more if you need to.

Vibrating Steering Wheel

When you are driving down the highway, your car’s steering wheel may start to jump and jerk, and it may also start to vibrate.

If it does, you may find it harder to keep your car under safe control as you go faster.

When you notice a problem like this, don’t wait to get it checked out by a mechanic. Do it as soon as you can.

Since a vibrating steering wheel can be caused by things like your car being out of alignment or other similar problems, getting it checked out right away could save you from having to pay a much bigger repair bill in the future.

Your Car Squeals Like a Pig

Yes, if your car is low on power steering fluid, it may sound like a pig is squealing as you drive down the road.

When you turn your car’s wheels and hear loud squealing or whining sounds, it’s likely because your car is low on power steering fluid.

Since pumps help fluid move through power steering systems, when there isn’t enough fluid, more and more air starts to move through your car’s power steering system. This is what causes the strange sounds.

Fill up the power steering fluid reservoir to stop your car from sounding like a pig.

If you do and you hear the same sounds later, it’s likely that your power steering system is leaking and needs to be looked at by a mechanic.

Does Power Steering Fluid Need to be Changed?

How To Know If Power Steering Fluid Is Low-2

Like oil and coolant, your car’s power steering fluid will need to be changed at some point.

If the colour of your car’s power steering fluid changes, it may be time to change it.

Fluid that is in good condition is usually reddish in colour. But if your power steering fluid is grey or black, it has gone bad and needs to be changed.

If you see bubbles in your power steering fluid, you should also take care of this quickly because it could mean that your power steering system has a leak.

This can be dangerous when you’re driving because it can make the power steering system in your car hard to control.

Is It Okay to Just Add Power Steering Fluid?

Yes, you can fill up the reservoir yourself if your car’s power steering fluid is low.

When you check your power steering fluid, make sure the level is between the “minimum” and “maximum” lines. If it is, you won’t need to add any more fluid to the power steering system.

If it’s below the “minimum” level, slowly add fluid and check to see how close it is to the “maximum” level.

If you add fluid but the reservoir doesn’t seem to fill up, this means there is a leak in the power steering system. If the fluid is already in the reservoir, don’t fill it past the “maximum” mark.

Is It Expensive to Replace Power Steering Fluid?

Most of the time, if you take your car to a mechanic to have the power steering fluid changed, it won’t cost you too much.

A mechanic will usually charge between $100 and $125 to change the power steering fluid. This is about the same price as a coolant flush and fill.

If you’re like us and like to work on your own car, the cost can go down a lot, and it usually doesn’t cost more than $20 to $30.

Now that you know the seven signs that your car needs power steering fluid, don’t keep fighting with the steering wheel every day.

Instead, you should check the level of your fluids and, if you need to, take your car to a mechanic.