Hydraulic fluid in Ford F150 power steering serves to ease its movement to turn the link between the steering and wheels of the truck.
How to Check Power Steering Fluid on Ford F150? In general, you can check the condition and level of the power steering fluid on the Ford F150 by observing it or from the dipstick installed at its reservoir under the hood. It must be within the MIN-MAX range. In addition, its color should be clear and free of dark or black debris to be in good shape.
Therefore, it is mandatory to check its level in your vehicle as a part of preventive maintenance to ensure smooth movement and prevent loud and noisy operation of steering.
How to Check Power Steering Fluid on Ford F150?
Ford motor company recommended practice to check the steering fluid level every month to ensure noise-free smooth operation of your truck.
The procedure is straightforward, and any truck driver can do it.
Turn ON the engine
The first step is to turn ON the engine of the truck. It would be best if you waited for a few seconds until its temperature reached the expected value during the operation of F-150.
Its purpose is to enable steering movement to warm up the fluid.
Turn the steering multiple times to its limits
With the engine in an idling state, move the steering wheel clockwise to its end limit and repeat this step in the opposite direction up to locking condition.
Perform this repetition multiple times to allow movement of oil through the rack and pinion and piston of the fluid pump and warm it up.
Turn off the engine
After 2-3 minutes, turn OFF the engine because the steering fluid has reached a warm-up state.
Moreover, it has passed through all parts involving mechanical parts to observe any debris or black particles from their wear and tear.
Locate the steering fluid reservoir under the hood
Open the pickup truck hood using the locking latch and remove the safety lock.
Locate its fluid reservoir carefully as there will be multiple fluid containers for brake, transmission, and engine oil.
You can locate it on the left or the driver’s side of the truck. It is easy to identify it by its white container and a black cap with steering fluid written on it.
The latest models have a steering icon on the lid and the type of recommended oil written on the cap.
Check the fluid level using the dipstick
The next step is to check the fluid level in the reservoir by observing it or using a dipstick.
Before opening the container’s cap, clean it with the help of a piece of clean cloth to remove any dirt. It will also help to prevent it from entering the reservoir.
Some models of Ford F-150 have transparent plastic reservoirs with min and max level markings on their surface.
You can check the oil level by observing it outside the container or shaking it to see the fluid movement.
At the same time, others have a metallic container, hard to read its surface from outside. They have a dipstick installed with the cap, and it has min and max marks on it.
To check its level, twist the cap to open it and pull the dipstick. Wipe it with a clean cloth and reinstall it on the reservoir. Open it again and check the fluid level.
Check the condition of steering fluid
Another critical step is to check the condition of the steering fluid as it deteriorates with time due to heat produced by friction between moving parts.
Moreover, due to wear and tear, it also contains waste particles and debris. Tear down a thin strip of clean paper and dip it in the reservoir.
Pull it out and observe its color; if it is dark, brown, or black, it is an indication that fluid has expired or contaminated and needs replacement. Otherwise, it is in good condition, and you can use it.
Ford recommends the replacement of power steering fluid after a particular mileage or time, whichever comes first.
Add the fluid if required
If the fluid level is between min and max lines, it is OK, and you can drive your truck without any problem.
If you find it below the minimum level, refill it by adding the recommended oil using a funnel in small steps until you reach the max level. Don’t go above the max level as it can cause overflow.
Close the fluid reservoir
After performing necessary refilling or flushing operations, clean the cap and dipstick and fix it.
Ensure to keep it tightly sealed as jerks during movement of the truck can remove it and cause oil leakage.
Do all models of Ford F-150 use steering fluid?
Ford introduced Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) in 2011, and since then, it has replaced the hydraulic fluid power steering in F-150 pickup trucks.
Instead, it uses an electric motor to facilitate its maneuverability as the driver turns the vehicle.
Due to the unavailability of rack and pinion and other mechanical parts, it won’t require fluid.
Moreover, it is efficient and provides better fuel economy than hydraulic power steering.
Therefore in the latest models with the EPAS feature, you will not find a reservoir under the hood and no need to check or replace it.
However, models of F-150 earlier than 2011 have hydraulic power steering. Therefore, they need to maintain, replace and flush the fluid regularly.
Quantity of steering fluid required to refill the fluid reservoir
Steering fluid doesn’t need replacement frequently in Ford F-150, and often it works fine by refilling it to maintain its level.
However, you have to manage for a quarter or less for filling or maintaining the reservoir’s recommended marking points.
If you are flushing the whole power steering system, you will need 2-3 quarters of recommended oil to clean and replace the older fluid.
Its replacement frequency will be higher in earlier trucks, having more than 15-20 years of service life.
It is inexpensive to maintain the fluid reservoir for power steering if you do it by yourself. However, the mechanic cost involved is between $70-$130.
How often to check the Power Steering Fluid?
Ford recommends checking the steering fluid level every month to ensure smooth movement and easy driving of the truck.
However, you must check it before going on a long drive besides other fluids and oils. Moreover, make it a part of a preventive maintenance plan to inspect its level and condition.
Replace it along with engine oil or recommended mileage of 70,000-95,000 miles.
Frequent off-road usage requires excessive steering use and quick deterioration of fluid. While on highways, you can replace it after a longer duration.
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