Can You Put Power Steering Fluid In While The Car Is Running?

Can You Put Power Steering Fluid In While The Car Is Running?

Power steering fluid is an invaluable component in your car’s power steering system. To provide a smooth and efficient experience, you’re required to change it once in a while.

However, you’ve probably heard people warn against putting power steering fluid in while the car is running.

You may have even heard it from an auto mechanic, your dad, or even a friend who’s done it before, and you don’t know why.

Can You Put Power Steering Fluid in While The Car is Running

Therefore, in this article, we thought to share a comprehensive guide on whether you should or shouldn’t put power steering fluid in a while your car is running? Why is it not recommended to do so?

Can You Put Power Steering Fluid In While The Car Is Running?

You need to know a few things to determine whether or not you can put power steering fluid in with your car or truck running.

The first thing to look at is the type of vehicle you have. It plays a significant role in determining if you can add this liquid to your vehicle while it is on or off.

Understand what features your car has and whether the manufacturer allows putting fluid in with the car running.

Generally speaking, it is okay to put power steering fluid in while the car is running. However, it is not advisable to do so.

Some manufacturers have different recommendations for adding fluid while driving versus adding fluid while stationary.

In some circumstances, you’re advised not to add any fluid until your vehicle has been parked for a couple of minutes or longer so that slippage can equal out across all components in the system when they’re under less stress.

Why You Should Never Put Power Steering Fluid In While The Car Is Running

It would be best never to put power steering fluid in a while your car is running.

Why? Because you will likely end up damaging your power steering pump and possibly even your entire power steering system.

Below, we’ve explained in detail why you should never put power steering fluid in a while your car is running.

Risk Of Burning Up The Pump

The power steering pump on your car is a hydraulic system. The power steering fluid works with the pump to pressurize the fluid so you can turn the wheel easier.

If you add fluid to the vehicle while running, you risk burning up the pump. In some worst scenarios, you may even end up damaging other parts of the system due to overpressure.

Also, over time, as you drive your vehicle, there’s a small amount of slippage between all system components due to normal wear and tear.

And if you continue to add more fluid each time levels drop off, slippage will be greater than usual. It will create more wear and tear on all your power steering system components.

Risk Of Overheating The Pump

When you drive, your engine heats up. So, if you fill your power steering fluid reservoir with power steering fluid while the car is running, the power steering pump may overheat and possibly burst (rarely, though).

You risk spilling steering oils on hot exhaust parts when your engine is hot. The fluid will burn (in worst-case scenarios) and can cause your car to burn to the ground.

Furthermore, the pressure in the system increases because of the temperature change. The pressure could increase enough to force some fluid out of the reservoir through a loose cap or worn seal.

Risk Of Leakage

Lastly, you couldn’t put power steering fluid in your car while it’s running because it will probably leak out.

Warning Note

“Treat any power steering fluid leak as a serious problem. If you see a leak, check your reservoir immediately. Add only enough fluid to bring it back to its normal level.”

Putting Power Steering Fluid in While The Car is Running

If you’ve reason to suspect that your power steering system is leaking, have a professional mechanic examine it immediately.

Furthermore, the height of fluid levers in cars changes from cold to hot. Therefore, it is far better and advisable to put power steering fluid in the car while not running.

How Long Do You Need To Wait Before Driving After Adding Power Steering Fluid?

A couple of minutes is the maximum you would’ve to wait after putting the fluid in before starting your car.

However, there is one thing to consider here. After putting the power steering fluid, start your car engine and let it stay on for around 30 seconds.

Then sit in the car and start testing the steering by turning it left to right — right to the left — 5 to 6 times so that you are entirely sure that the fluid has started working correctly.

However, if you don’t feel much difference before and after putting the power steering fluid, consider adding some more fluid. You can also see a car mechanic because your car might be malfunctioning.

Warning Note

Be careful, though, as you would not want to fill the fluid system more than its capacity. Because in that case, your engine may catch fire and cause irreversible damage.

Dos And Don’ts When Putting Power Steering Fluid In Your Car

Following are some do’s and don’ts of changing the car’s power steering fluid: 

Do’s

Don’ts

  • Check the reservoir first. If it shows that the fluid is less than “MIN, ” you should add fluid.
  • You will see “MIN” and “MAX” in the reservoir. If the fluid level is between these two, your car doesn’t need the fluid yet.
  • If you didn’t use your car for some time and want to check its fluid level, start its engine and let it run for 4 to 5 minutes to warm the fluid up.
  • Don’t just add the power steering fluid in the car before warming the engine because you won’t get the correct fluid level reading that way.
  • You should often check the steering fluid level and make sure it remains between minimum to maximum.
  • Don’t drive your car for more than 2 minutes if you know your car is running low on fluid.
  • Change the power steering fluid if its color turns yellow or brown.
  • Brown or yellow color means the fluid is polluted with other components and is losing its capability. Don’t drive your car before changing it.

The Takeaway

Although you can put the power steering fluid in a while your car is running; it’s not advisable to do so. Generally, all experts suggest putting the fluid in while the car isn’t running or when the engine is hot.

Putting the power steering in while the car is running may risk leakage, damage, or car burn. Therefore, it is better to be extra cautious and put the power steering fluid on while the car isn’t running.

Lastly, comment below if you like to add more to our knowledge or have other questions regarding power steering fluid. We’d love to hear from you.