Power Steering Fluid Flush Cost Guide

The average cost of servicing the power steering fluid in most vehicles is about $120. It can vary depending on location, and the cost of fluid is dependent on whether it’s the manufacturer’s brand or aftermarket.

The labor is dependent on how the service is performed; whether inline flush machine or drain and fill service. Most shops including dealerships use a fixed rate for power steering flushes. This means that it doesn’t matter what make and model vehicle you have; the power steering flush price is the same across the board.

Steering illustration

Cost of Flushing the Power Steering Fluid

The average cost of servicing the power steering fluid in most vehicles is about $120. It can vary depending on location, and the cost of fluid is dependent on whether it’s the manufacturer’s brand or aftermarket.

The labor is dependent on how the service is performed; whether inline flush machine or drain and fill service. Most shops including dealerships use a fixed rate for power steering flushes. This means that it doesn’t matter what make and model vehicle you have; the power steering flush price is the same across the board.

At independent shops that use a flushing machine, you can expect to pay between $90 and $150 as the power steering fluid change cost. If these shops utilize “cleaners or flushing additives”, the cost can be $25 to $50 more depending on how detailed the flush they are performing.

At independent shops that perform the drain and refill style of fluid exchange, the cost can be between $50 and $100 depending on how many times they drain the system, as well as their labor rate.

At the dealership, if a flushing machine is used, the price can range between $125 and $200 depending on how intensive the flushing machine is. Using conditioners, cleaners or other types of chemicals can drive the price up.

At a dealership that uses the drain and refill method, the price can range from $75 to $125 depending on how many times they perform the drain and refill. If the fluid is factory fluid, the cost can be on the higher end as opposed to if they use aftermarket fluid to stay competitive.

Most manufacturers do not actually recommend the use of any additional chemicals in the power steering system even though your local dealer may use them. It’s a good practice to ask if the service facility is using factory fluid or aftermarket, even at a dealership. Some dealerships will use aftermarket fluid to make their prices more comparable to aftermarket shops.

Many times at the dealership they will offer maintenance packages for the different intervals of service. These packages usually come with a discount, but the price can be quite large depending on the number of fluids to be serviced during that interval.

What to Expect for Your Service

Most power steering flush services will take 45 minutes to an hour to be performed if using a flushing machine. If using the drain and refill method, the service can take 20 to 45 minutes depending on how many times they drain the system.

During the flush service, the technicians will likely look for any leaks in your power steering system that may be present. A leak in the system can cause components to fail prematurely if they are starved of fluid. The fluid not only provides the pushing force for the hydraulic system but also lubricates the pump and rack.

Swollen hoses can be a sign of fluid contamination and can cause ruptures. A large leak will leave your vehicle with no power steering assist. This can become a safety concern as the steering will become stiff and hard to steer.

The drive belt is also another component that should be regularly checked. A cracked belt or a weathered belt can snap which would cause both the power steering pump and the alternator to lose their functions.

More About Power Steering Fluid

Before vehicles had power steering assist, the driver had to manually provide all the force to turn the wheels through mechanical shafts and gears. Since the early 1900s, hydraulic power steering was created and used to assist the drivers with the heavy forces needed to turn the wheels. Hydraulic power steering is the most commonly used power steering assist system.

The hydraulic system consists of a power steering pump, steering gearbox, reservoir, and lines to transport the fluid. The power steering pump runs off the drive belt on most vehicles and the pump creates the hydraulic pressure needed to provide steering assist. 

There are two types of steering systems: a rack and pinion is a design used on most front wheel drive vehicles, and a steering gearbox is used more on trucks and larger vehicles. But they are simply two ways of accomplishing the same thing, steering the wheels, and some cars used steering gearboxes, some trucks have rack and pinion steering. Either way it doesn’t affect the way the system is serviced. 

Many manufacturers are turning away from hydraulic power steering systems by turning to electric motors to aid in assisting the driver with power steering. Vehicles that are manufactured in 2015 and newer, especially cars, will likely have an electronic power steering rack and pinion. These electronic racks sometimes do still use fluid which requires maintenance.

checking power steering oil

What is a Power Steering Flush Service?

Almost all repair facilities are capable of servicing the power steering fluid in your vehicle. The standard practice is to flush the system while the vehicle is running as the power steering pump pumps the fluid through the system. Some shops will use a machine that is hooked up inline with the system and as the new fluid is pumped in, the old fluid is captured by the flushing machine.

Other places may just drain the power steering system and fill it up with new fluid. Usually, this procedure will be done multiple times to attempt to remove as much old fluid as possible but is less effective than the inline flushing machine.

The inline flushing machine will use more fluid and the labor is also more as the system needs to be disconnected for the machine adapters to be installed. The drain and fill style exchange uses less fluid and also less labor-intensive.

FAQ

It depends on the type of equipment used, but less than an hour in almost all cases.

It’s best to consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual, but every 30,000 to 50,000 miles is the most common recommendation.

The fluid loses its good lubricating properties over time, and can accumulate debris from use which causes wear in the moving parts - the power steering pump, and the rack and pinion or gearbox. This can cause early failure of the components or component’s seals.

Author Bio

Daniel Rey

Daniel has worked for 33 years now in the automotive field, as an ASE Master Technician for independent shops and dealerships, as a Certified Chrysler Technician, as a warranty claims adjuster for General Motors.