Power steering fluid is the lifeblood of your Civic steering system. It provides hydraulic pressure to make turning the wheel easier while also lubricating components to prevent wear. Over time, power steering fluid breaks down and loses its effectiveness, leading to reduced steering performance. Typically, you should change the Honda Civic power steering fluid Honda Civic every 30,000 miles or 2-3 years.
Replacing old fluid with fresh fluid helps restore proper power steering performance and prevent bigger problems down the road. This guide will cover the steps, fluid specifications, and maintenance tips you need to successfully change the power steering fluid on any Honda Civic model from 2001 and newer. With some simple tools, you can tackle this job yourself and save on service costs.
When To Change Power Steering Fluid
Here are some signs that your Civic is due for a power steering fluid change:
- Difficulty turning the steering wheel at low speeds
- Strange noises when turning like whining or grinding
- Leaks from the power steering pump or hoses
- Low fluid level in the reservoir
- Fluid is dark, contaminated, or smells burnt
If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t delay – change power steering fluid Honda Civic as soon as possible. Driving with low fluid can damage the power steering pump leading to very costly repairs.
How Often To Change Power Steering Fluid
Honda recommends inspecting the fluid every 15,000 miles and replacing it every 30,000 miles or 2-3 years. However, fluid condition depend on driving conditions. Here are some guidelines:
- Normal Driving: Every 30,000 miles or 3 years
- Heavy city driving: Every 20,000 miles
- Off-road/Towing: Annually
- Leaks/Noises: Immediately
When in doubt, err on the side of changing it more often. Fresh fluid improves performance and prevents wear.
How To Change Power Steering Fluid Honda Civic?
Always use Honda Power Steering Fluid or an equivalent dexron III automatic transmission fluid. Honda power steering fluid is a special highly refined fluid designed specifically for Honda steering systems. Using the wrong fluid could damage seals or cause poor steering performance.
Here are two recommended fluids:
- Genuine Honda Fluid: Part No. 08206-9002
- Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF: Meets Honda fluid specs
Avoid “stop leak” additives as they can clog steering components. Stick to the proper fluid for best results.
Gather the following tools and supplies before starting:
- Honda power steering fluid (1 quart)
- Clean funnel
- Drip pan
- Turkey baster or syringe
Optional helpful tools:
- 3/8 ratchet and extension
- 3/8 inch drive flex-head wrench
- Latex gloves
Make sure to check the fluid level first before proceeding. Now let’s get started!
Step 1 – Locate Power Steering Reservoir
The first step is accessing the power steering fluid reservoir. On most Civics, the reservoir is located behind the driver side headlight.
Tip: Turn the steering wheel all the way to the right. This will help reveal the reservoir behind the headlight.
Some newer Civics may have the reservoir towards the rear near the firewall. Check your owner’s manual if you’re having trouble finding it.
Step 2 – Remove Reservoir Cap
Before draining, make sure the fluid is at the proper level. It should be between the MIN and MAX lines on the side.
Use a rag to soak up any dirt or grime around the reservoir cap. Unscrew the cap by hand and set it aside.
Inspect the fluid – it should be a clear red color when fresh. If it is dark, contaminated or smells burnt, a change is definitely needed.
Step 3 – Drain Old Power Steering Fluid
There are two ways to drain the old fluid:
Siphon Method – Use a turkey baster or fluid transfer pump to suck out the old fluid. This avoids having to disconnect any hoses. Insert the tip and slowly extract the fluid into a drip pan.
Hose Method – Disconnect the return hose from the bottom of the reservoir using pliers or a wrench. Be prepared for some fluid spillage. Direct the open hose end into a drain pan until all fluid is drained.
Allow the fluid to fully drain. Dispose of the old fluid properly – don’t dump down a drain. Most auto parts stores will collect used fluid.
Step 4 – Fill Reservoir with New Fluid
Once drained, reconnect any hoses removed in the previous step. Make sure the connections are snug.
Using a clean funnel, pour in new Honda power steering fluid until it reaches the MAX line. Avoid overfilling past this line.
Put the reservoir cap back on securely when finished.
Step 5 – Start Engine and Inspect
Get in the driver seat and start the engine. Turn the wheels from lock to lock to help circulate the new fluid.
Turn off the engine, check the fluid level, and top off if needed. A drop after filling is normal as the system purges air. Inspect underneath for any leaks at the hoses. If a leak is found, tighten the connections and check again.
Go for a short drive and check for improved steering responsiveness. If the system is still making noise or not steering properly, have your local Honda service center inspect the power steering system.
Tips For Changing Power Steering Fluid
Follow these tips for safe, hassle-free fluid changes:
- Check for leaks and address prior to service
- Only use Honda specified fluid or equivalent
- Wear skin protection – fluid can be irritating
- Dispose of old fluid properly, don’t drain
- Check fluid levels often, at least monthly
- Consider a power steering system flush if dirty
If you drive aggressively or tow regularly, change the fluid more frequently than the recommended interval. Keeping fresh fluid in your Civic goes a long way to maintaining proper steering performance and feel.
When Should I Change My Power Steering Fluid To A Honda Civic?
You should change the power steering fluid in your Honda Civic every 30,000 miles or 2-3 years, whichever comes first. More frequent changes are needed if you do a lot of city driving or towing. Check the owner’s manual for specific intervals. Fluid breaks down over time and loses effectiveness, so regular changes are important to keep your steering system running properly.
Can I Replace The Power Steering Fluid Myself?
Yes, you can replace your Civic’s power steering fluid at home with basic tools. Locate the reservoir, drain old fluid, refill with Honda fluid, start the engine and you’re done. Turning the wheel lock-to-lock circulates the new fluid. Inspect for leaks. Just be sure to use the correct fluid and dispose of old fluid properly. With some care, it’s a straight-forward DIY job.
How Do I Know I Need To Change My Power Steering Fluid?
Signs you need new power steering fluid include difficulty steering, strange noises when turning, low fluid level, leaks, and dark or contaminated fluid. If you notice any of these symptoms, it means the fluid has broken down and should be drained and refilled with fresh fluid to restore proper performance. Don’t delay or you risk damage.
How Many Times Should You Change The Power Steering Fluid?
For most driving, you should change power steering fluid in your Civic every 30,000 miles or 2-3 years. More frequent changes are needed for heavy city driving every 20,000 miles or if you routinely tow or go off-roading. Check the condition yearly and change the fluid if it appears contaminated. Proper fluid changes prevent wear and keep your steering working smoothly.
FAQ – Power Steering Fluid Change
How Much Fluid Does The Reservoir Hold?
The Civic power steering reservoir holds approximately 1 quart when filled to the MAX line. Always use Honda fluid or approved dexron III equivalent.
Do I Need To Jack Up The Car?
No, you can change the fluid with the car on the ground. Just turn the wheels for access to the reservoir.
Should I Change The Power Steering Filter?
Most Civics do not have an external filter. The only maintenance is fluid changes as directed.
Can Low Power Steering Fluid Cause Steering Wheel Shakes?
Yes, a low fluid level can allow air inside the steering system causing vibrations and shaking. Top off the fluid and bleed the air out by turning the wheel lock-to-lock.
How Do You Know When Power Steering Fluid Is Bad?
Signs of bad fluid include dark color, burnt smell, debris, and foam. Any of these indicators means it’s time for a fluid change..
Neglecting power steering fluid maintenance can lead to catastrophic failure and expensive repairs. Save money in the long run by learning how to properly change the power steering fluid in your Honda Civic. If you notice any symptoms of low or contaminated fluid, make flushing the system a top priority. Follow the steps outlined and use high-quality fluid for optimal results. With routine fluid changes, your power steering system will operate smoothly for years to come.
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