With the seemingly hundreds of automotive maintenance tasks drivers need to stay on top of, power steering fluid maintenance can sometimes be left to the wayside. This is unfortunate, as improper power steering fluid maintenance is one of the top reasons for power steering failure or malfunction in vehicles – particularly in high performance vehicles like MINI. Oil changes, transmission flushes, and coolant leaks often take precedence over power steering fluid maintenance, and often for a good reason; however, staying on top of your power steering fluid care can make all the difference in your MINI’s performance.
The Effects of Inadequate Power Steering Fluid Care
There are several different components in your power steering system that rely on the power steering fluid for optimal performance:
• Power steering pump
These are just a few of the parts of the power steering system that tend to not work properly if the fluid is low, begins to leak, or is compromised by debris and buildup. It is also important to keep in mind that if the power steering fluid becomes contaminated or springs a leak somewhere in the system, the lack of proper lubrication can speed up the wear process for each of these components. In turn, this creates a high degree of friction between the different parts, which can wind up degrading components rather quickly and lead to significant performance problems.
How to Take Care of Your Power Steering Fluid
We’ve mentioned several times how important it is to stay on top of power steering fluid care, but what can you do to ensure your power steering fluid is in good condition? It is important that you engage in the following tasks routinely, or as your MINI owner’s manual delineates in an effort to keep your power steering fluid full, clean, and working properly:
• Ongoing power steering fluid checks and inspections
• Occasional fluid flushes if warranted by maintenance plans and schedules for your specific MINI
• Making sure fluid is at the proper level at all times
• Frequently inspecting for leaks or fluid loss
• Follow up on any concerning signs/symptoms of contaminated or low power steering fluid – particularly whining noises as you turn your wheel
Why Fluid Care is Beneficial in the Long Run
We’ve already mentioned that staying on top of your MINI’s power steering fluid maintenance is essential for several reasons, including keeping parts well lubricated and working properly; however, there are other benefits of fluid care that extend beyond the immediate, obvious ones. Here are a few more that might make fluid care worth your while:
• Saves you money on repairs
• Saves money on replacement parts
• Keeps your MINI performing optimally at all times
• Prevents auto accidents
• Keeps parts from wearing prematurely, saving you money in overall auto maintenance over the life of your car
• Overall extends the life of your MINI
• Keeps your car functioning reliably and predictably
• Upholds and retains the value of your MINI over time
The more vigilant you can be about your MINI’s auto maintenance, the better – you’ll save money, spare yourself major hassles, and most importantly, keep your MINI in excellent shape.
What You Can Do to Act Preventively
Preventive care means that you’ll need to take a few steps in order to make sure your MINI is receiving the best care possible. Here are a few questions to keep in mind moving forward:
• Do you have a MINI specialist to help you detect power steering malfunctions and repair them appropriately?
• What type of replacement parts are used when you need to implement repairs or replacements?
• Are you diligent about sticking to your suggested maintenance schedule? (This information can be found in your MINI owner’s manual)
• Do you follow up on concerning signs/symptoms of malfunction or part failure?
• Do you routinely check your power steering fluid for proper quality and fullness?
• Do you routinely look out for fluid leaks?
We know that these tasks can seem daunting – especially if automotive knowledge isn’t your strong suit. Here at Autobahn Automotive Service, we are proud to serve MINI clients from all over the areas of San Antonio and Longhorn, TX; the MINI brand is one that we are most passionate about, and it is evident in our quality of work. To schedule a power steering system inspection or to learn more about our shop, please look over our website or call us directly.
* Mini Cooper image credit goes to: Maxian.