Power steering fluid coming out of reservoir cap: Causes & Solutions

Is your power steering fluid coming out of reservoir cap? What could have caused it, and how can you fix that? 

As a car owner, you’d have to understand that some vital components tend to degrade as your car ages and how much trouble it brings to you!

Below are the causes of power steering leaks at the reservoir cap, how to fix and the cost of fixing them.

Let’s dive in!

Air In The Power Steering System

Why Does Air Stuck In The System?

Air can get stuck in the power steering system due to low fluid levels. In some vehicles (ex. Fords), if you quickly turn the steering when your engine is off, much pressure is exerted on the fluid in the reservoir, insomuch that the fluid is forced to shoot upwards and escape through the cap. 

The other reason is that you did not close the reservoir cap carefully in your last change/ fill up the fluid. This can make air get into the system easily.

The most common signs that depict air in the power steering engine are stiff steering wheel, unusual moaning and groaning. Even though the fluid level is low, it will still overflow on shutoff.

How To Remove Air From The Power Steering System

 Bleed The System

One common way to remove air from your power steering system is by bleeding it. To bleed the air out, all you need to do is put the car into ignition so you can turn the wheel. Now, remove the power steering reservoir cap; turn the steering lock to lock, slowly and repeatedly for about 12 times, and the air in your power steering reservoir should be out.

Cover the Reservoir Cap

If the pressure hose is in good condition, it implies that air may have gotten in from the reservoir cap, which was not tightly closed. So, close the reservoir properly, and the issue is solved.

Faulty Power Steering O-rings

Cause of O-rings Failure

Another possible reason why your vehicle’s power steering fluid is leaking is due to faulty O-rings. Most drivers typically overlook the O-rings, but they play a significant role in making your car function smoothly. The function of O-rings is simple; to block water or any liquid from escaping. There are many places where O-rings are used in a vehicle, and the power steering system is inclusive. 

Just like other components in a car, the O-rings can get worse due to several reasons. The most common factor that affects the o-rings in a vehicle is aging. If your car is older, the primary o-rings it came with must have worn out. However, in rare situations, the o-rings may be affected by severe temperatures.

When the O-rings in the power steering system are faulty, it causes the power steering fluid to leak.

How To Fix Faulty O-Rings?

If you get faulty O-rings, all you need to do is replace them with new ones.

The power steering O-ring is on the top of the suction hose that transfers fluid from the reservoir into the power steering pump. To remove a component from the power steering system, you may need to disassemble the entire system.

Depending on your vehicle type and model, there are typically two o-rings in the power steering system. It is advisable to replace the two at a go (even though it’s just one that got bad). If you’d be doing it yourself, you need  a clamp, a pair of gloves to cover your hands, clean rag or towel, and the new o-rings.

You will need to place the rage beneath the hose so that the little fluid that may pour out will not touch your belt or AC compressor when you take out the hose. Afterward, proceed to pullout the hose from the system and replace the O-rings.

Cost Of Replacing Faulty O-Rings

You can buy o-rings between $7 and $12 (shipping fee not included). The labor cost is between $50 – $70. 

Note: When buying O-rings, ensure to inform the seller about your car model. O-rings are available in pairs, and they differ for different car models.

Power Steering Leaks

There are other reasons why your power steering fluid leaks; the reasons are detailed below.

Power Steering Reservoir Cap Leaks

During time, your vehicle’s power steering reservoir cap may be broken due to severe impact, collision/accident, or age. This will make the PS fluid comes up when heated and pours away.

How To Check Power Steering Reservoir Cap Leaks

Simply allow the engine to cool down, take off the reservoir cap and look closely around the body. If you could see a physical crack, that’s the cause of the fluid leak. Also, if the cap is physically damaged (partly broken), you’d see that.

How to fix

The simple solution here is to replace the broken power steering cap. This is not an expensive repair, and it’s something you can do without involving anyone.

Cost Of Replacing a Bad Power Steering Cap

You’d get a new one between $3 – $10, depending on the design of your vehicle’s power steering system. The caps are available in various stores, including Amazon.

Cracked Reservoir

Sadly, the power steering fluid reservoir can crack and damage. Yes, this is possible due to several reasons, which include serious collisions. A cracked reservoir will let out fluids profusely. 

Two major factors that can cause this to happen are “Time” and “Usage.” Time refers to the age of the vehicle, while usage refers to your driving style and how often you drive. If you had an accident, the severity could also cause the reservoir to crack.

How To Fix A Cracked Power Steering Reservoir

If the reservoir is not so cracked, you could easily glue it up. Replacing the reservoir itself is not recommended by most car manufacturers; however, some mechanics can help you do that if the plastic is badly cracked. 

Use Glue

Get strong glue and patch up the areas that are leaking. This is the best solution if the reservoir is not severely damaged. It is economical, and you can do it yourself easily.

Replace the Tank

If the reservoir is badly damaged, you need to purchase another one (the exact one for your car model). The steps to replace the reservoir are pretty rigorous, and you need a set of tools; thus, it is best to get a mechanic to do that for you.

Cost

If you go with the glue for your very minor crack, it will cost you around $7 for

The cost of replacing a broken power steering reservoir differs based on car models, year, type, and engine—however, the replacement costs between $150 – $600 (labor cost included). 

Power Steering Hoses Leak

Typically, two hoses connect to the power steering system. These hoses are subjected to different pressures, and even though they are designed to withstand such forces, they become weaker as the years go by. When either of these two hoses is terrible, the fluid that passes through it will leak away.

Constant intense vibrations can cause the power steering hoses to rub against other components in the engine bay, which can result in leaks. More so, as the car gets older, the hose can be worn-out due to wear and tear.

How To Check Power Steering Hoses For Leaks

If your power steering hose(s) is leaking, you’d see thick grime around the area where the fluid leaks out. Also, you’d see oil drops on surrounding components like the AC compressor.

How To Fix Power Steering Hose Leaks

It’s simple; change the faulty hose. This is not like the reservoir you can patch up; if a hose is damaged, a total replacement is needed. You will have to lose a bunch of nuts to remove the old hose and install the new one; thus, it’s best to get a mechanic.

Cost

To replace a power steering pressure hose costs between $400 and $450. The parts cost between $317 and $350, while the labor costs between $100 and $150.

Causes and solutions of power steering fluid coming out of reservoir cap
It is important to fix any issue with your power steering system before it escalates to costly repairs.

Summary

When you see your power steering fluid coming out of the reservoir or leaking from the hoses, you need to inspect the entire system and replace the faulty components. Interestingly, the cost of fixing most power steering system components is below $150, which is quite affordable. 

Finally, it is important to fix any issue with your vehicle’s power steering system as early as possible, before it escalates to costly repairs.

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