system at least twice a year - more often if recommended by the car handbook, or if the steering becomes heavy or jerky.
Complete failure makes the steering very heavy - you can feel the effect by trying it with the
switched off and the car stationary.
Check the fluid level in the
and, if it is low, look for leaks. Leaks may let air in as well as fluid out, so the system may need bleeding.
The reservoir may be set in the top of the
, which is mounted on the
and driven by a belt from the
. It may be separate - find it by tracing the
from the pump.
Usually there are two level marks in the reservoir. The lower one is used when the fluid is cold, and the upper one when it is hot. Read the level with the car on flat
; remember to replace the reservoir cap.
If the level is low, there is probably a leak. Check all the hose joints: they should be tight, but not cutting into the hose ends. Check that the hoses are not cracked, perished or chafed. Look for leaks oozing sticky fluid.
Check any rigid pipework attached to the pump, reservoir and
(or steering box). Look for leaks from the pipe unions and for sticky fluid trails. If none is immediately visible, clean the parts with engine degreaser.
Have a helper start the car and turn the steering wheel from lock to lock while you look again for leaks.
If you find a leaking joint, tighten it and top up the reservoir. Normally,
fluid is used, but consult the car handbook.
the system to remove any air bubbles.