Power Steering System Oil
Power steering system oil is an integral part of the steering system. It is often overlooked as a cause of problems in power steering systems. In this article we wanted to discus what causes the problems with power steering system oil and when the oil and filter should be changed.
Why change power steering system oil?
Without regular maintenance power steering system oil will degrade. There are a number of causes for this ranging from;
Regular changes in temperature inherent with a power steering system’s normal operation will force air in and out of the reservoir. Air will be pushed out of the power steering system oil reservoir as everything heats up and then when everything cools down it will be drawn back into to the reservoir. The air drawn back into the reservoir is often full of dust/dirt and moisture. This process overtime naturally degrades the performance of the oil.
The natural wear and tear of the power steering system generates small particles of metal. These power steering system oil filter is in the system to remove these particles and maximize the life of the power steering system pump and gear. If left to build up due to lack of filter and oil replacements these metallic particles can cause significant damage to the power steering system. What’s more if the power steering system oil and filter are not regularly changed a sudden load of metallic particles from say a pump beginning to fail will not be adequately filtered from the system. This load of particles could cause significantly more damage to a power steering gear than otherwise would be the case.
High running temperatures created by high ambient temperatures and heavy loads on the steering system can also cause power steering system oil to degrade over time. The oil degrades, viscosity increases (oil gets sticker) and ironically the temperature of the system increases accelerating the problem. Typically oil temperatures should not run above 120 degrees C. Check out Hydrosteer Coolers for a solution if your power steering system oil runs hot.
How often should the oil and filter be changed?
There are some simple rules of thumb which can be applied to answer this question.
The simplest Is to change the oil and filter every 12 months at a minimum. Flush the old oil completely out of the circuit and install a new filter.
It is also critical that the oil and filter should be changed every time the hydraulic circuit is broken. What do we mean by that? Anytime a component is removed and replaced if the oil and filter are not replaced the dirty oil will damage the new / repaired components significantly degrading there life span.