91 - 01 Toyota Camry Power Steering Fluid Change

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.

1. Remove the passenger side wheel.

2. Remove the crankshaft pulley splash guard.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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Comments 5 comments

GO HOGS 5 years ago

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?

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

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.

htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Great post..Thanks

David 23 months ago

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

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 23 months ago from Memphis, TN Author

It's on the engine block facing the firewall.

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