Hardlymoving writes about do-it-yourself automobile maintenance on various makes and models.
The Toyota maintenance guide does not call for the replacement of the power steering fluid; just fluid level checks and replenishment with ATF Dextron III or Power Steering Fluid. If your Camry has over 100k miles, is over 10 years old or the oil has turned black, draining as much of the old power steering fluid out of the system and replenishing with power steering fluid with a stop leak additive may lengthen the life of your power steering pump and rejuvenate the oil seals if a mild leak is detected. The fluid turning black may be due to fluid break down and/or metal oxidation within the fluid lines. Regardless, a fluid change is simple, inexpensive and a good PM (preventative maintenance) task for peace of mind.
Power Steering Fluid Replacement Procedure
Since there is no drain plug for the pump reservoir, the old way of removing fluid was to use a suction device like a turkey baster and draw out as much fluid as possible. Then refill the reservoir with new fluid, start the car and repeat the process until the fluid looks clear.
A much simpler method that will draw out more fluid is to detach the oil line from the lowest part of the car and let it drain out. While the fluid is draining, turning the steering wheel to full deflection (left and right) will help push out any remaining fluid in the steering rack.
- Remove the passenger side wheel.
- Remove the crankshaft pulley splash guard.
- Remove the power steering pump hose clamp and detach the hose. The oil will start draining. Allow 10 minutes for the oil to drain out and turn the steering wheel to full deflection (to the left and right several times) to help push out the oil from the steering rack.
- Reattach the hose, fill the power steering reservoir with new fluid and reinstall the cap. Fill beyond the upper limit line on the reservoir container. Turning the steering wheel to the left and right will create suction to draw the new fluid into the pump. When the car is started, the new fluid will occupy air pockets in the drained out lines while the fluid level in the container will drop very quickly. This will happen in under 20 seconds. Turn off the engine and allow the air bubbles in the container to dissipate (around 1/2 hour). Replenish with more fluid to the container full line, start the car and re-check the fluid level.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have 2 questions: 1) Can I change the power steering fluid without jack stands (with tires on the pavement) or will the steering wheel be too hard to turn? 2) Doesn't this leave some fluid in the pump?
Answer: I think maybe you can if you turned the steering wheel all the way to the right. Never tried it without taking off the wheel. And yes ... there will be some fluid left in the pump but not very much.
hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 07, 2019:
It could be either a leak behind the timing belt cover coming from the camshaft seal or the low pressure power steering hose leading to the power steering pump. Just place new worm screw hose clamps in front of all you existing spring clamps. Clean up with break clean aerosol spray and re-check for leaks.
Dessy Patricks on June 07, 2019:
Hello and good day. I love your posts and all the nice solutions you give. Please I just noticed oil leaks under my car, just under the engine oil pan on the front wheel of the passenger side. I noticed that when I start the car, it starts leaking but stops as soon as i turn off the ignition. Mines a 2001 Toyota Camry CE. Hope to hear from you soon.
hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on September 07, 2018:
Don't really see a need with the PS pump. Doesn't really get that hot.
Daijoubu on September 07, 2018:
My PS cooling lines (that is, the section of steel that attach to the body) rusted and leaked, I replaced it all with a similar loop/lenght of hose, it's been working fine since but I wonder how much cooling that provided and If I should install a small aftermarket trans cooler, I can get a Four Seasons 53022 for like under $40, thanks.
Marc780 on November 30, 2017:
This idea might not be popular - but the way shown, is doing it the hard way. Also you risk the fitting not sealing later. I just suck out the reservoir with a turkey baster (with a few inches of hose pressed on the end). Suck it out, fill it up, run the car a minute. Repeat 4 or 5 times or until the fluid comes out clean.
hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on November 25, 2014:
It's on the engine block facing the firewall.
David on November 24, 2014:
My Camry 1999 4 cyl. I want to do a coolant flush. It seems there are two drain plugs/cocks: one is at the bottom of the radiator and where is the second one ? Do you have pictures for the second one ? And what is the proper procedure to flush the radiator ? What fluid you use ?
I am looking forward to your post.
Thanks from your fan
htodd from United States on September 10, 2011:
hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 28, 2011:
Hello Go Hogs,
If your power steering fluid is dark, my preference is to use any power steering fluid with a 'stop leak' additive package to condition the seals. The stop leak turned me into a believer when I was getting ready to replace a pump that was continuously leaking. After around 3 weeks of constantly adding the fluid, the leak completely sealed up.
I've seen no advantage in using ATF or synthetic fluids for power steering units in Toyotas.
GO HOGS on August 28, 2011:
I have a 1998 camry 4 cyl and manual and haynes manual both say to use Dexron III Automatic Transmision fluid in power steering. would it be safe to put power steering fluid in it instead of ATF? if so then what would u prefer? royal purple power steering fluid?