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GM Tech Tip: Power Steering Fluid Leak At Reservoir Or Reservoir Connection

When diagnosing power steering fluid leak conditions, the technician may find a heat-damaged fluid reservoir. When a power steering reservoir or reservoir seal is damaged, it’s important to make sure that potential associated issues are addressed.

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When diagnosing power steering fluid leak conditions, the technician may find a heat-damaged fluid reservoir. When a power steering reservoir or reservoir seal is damaged, it’s important to make sure that potential associated issues are addressed. 

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Conditions that are the result of super-heated power steering fluid may involve the power steering pump, reservoir and hoses. These additional components may not have any apparent issues at the time of the initial diagnosis.

Fluid temperatures sufficient to distort or damage the reservoir may cause damage to the power steering pump, affecting durability.

When replacing a power steering reservoir due to a leak condition, if the condition appears to be caused by super-heated fluid, it’s important that the power steering pump, reservoir and hoses also be replaced to prevent a subsequent concern, resulting in customer dissatisfaction. In addition, it’s necessary to advise the customer that certain operating conditions generate these excessive fluid temperatures and these same conditions must be avoided to prevent future issues.

Maneuvers that can cause the fluid to super-heat typically involve holding the steering against the “stop” or end of travel for more than five seconds at an engine speed in excess of 1,500 rpm. One of the most common practices is performing continuous spin-outs or “doughnuts” with the steering against the end of travel. 

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