Subaru Power Steering Fluid – Detail Explained In 2023

A reliable Subaru is an enjoyable experience, and taking good care of it is the best way to get the most enjoyment from it. The power steering feature that comes with your Subaru is vital for performance. Imagine trying to steer the wheels of a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds with the strength of your forearms and hands.

This article will teach you about the Subaru power steering fluid, how it works, when you should replace them, etc.

What varieties of power steering fluid are there?

  • Fluid for automatic transmission (ATF): The same fluid that is used in automatic transmissions can also be used in specific power steering systems.
  • Synthetic power steering fluid: Most newer vehicles use synthetic fluids developed in a laboratory. These types of fluids are generally designed for certain types of cars and steering systems.
  • Non-synthetic, mineral power steering fluid: Mineral hydraulic fluid can be utilized in certain situations that can accept ATF.

How does power steering work?

When you turn and drive on the wheel of your car, it turns the shaft. This shaft connects to the gearbox for steering. The gearbox is equipped with one piston that connects the post. The middle of the piston is a gap that closes off when the piston turns.

Continuously, hydraulic fluid under pressure flows through this port via the pump for power steering. If the aperture’s size decreases the pressure of fluid required to push it through. And it provides the extra push to ensure better control.

The wheel’s rotation into its straight-ahead direction expands the opening of the piston. It allows a greater flow of fluid out with less effort.

The driving experience with power steering is less tiring because it decreases fatigue for drivers. Maintaining an efficient power steering system requires constant maintenance and inspections of the fluid level per the manufacturer’s specifications.

Can Subaru power steering fluid be replaced with ATF?

subaru power steering fluid change

Yes, you can. It is possible to use the ATF, also known as automatic transmission fluid, inside your pump for power steering as an alternative to power steering fluid when stuck.

Both ATF along with your Subaru Power Steering Fluid is hydraulic fluids. The power steering system you have is a hydraulic device like the transmission system.

You can enjoy ATF because it has detergents to ensure your system is operating correctly. A lot of cars and trucks need ATF for their power steering pumps.

Go through the owner’s manual for your car to determine whether this is the case for the make and model of the vehicle.

How frequently should a Subaru have its power steering fluid changed?

If the fluid in your vehicle is not as high, you should repair the leaks immediately. Specific mechanics recommend getting your power steering fluid flushed every two years. Others suggest that you should wait until you’ve reached 75,000 miles.

Our research suggests that your vehicle is equipped with electric power steering (“EPS,” also known as “EPAS”). These systems use electricity instead of the hydraulic system. Thus they do not need fluid for power steering to leak.

What Causes Problems with Subaru Power Steering?

subaru power steering

The following is a listing of the most occurring causes of failures in Subaru power steering:

1. Low or Insufficient Power Steering Liquid

The drop in fluid levels is the leading cause of power steering malfunctions. The low fluid levels prevent the pump from producing enough pressure to provide the hydraulic power needed to assist in steering.

2. Leaking

Leaks are another primary reason for Subaru power steering issues. If leaks are present in your system, the fluid is released, decreasing pressure and making it challenging to control.

3. Presence of Air in The System

Air in the system could be an extra issue. This causes cavitation, in which bubbles appear within the fluid. Cavitation decreases the efficiency of pumps and makes them harder to control, besides other issues.

4. Worn Out Components

A car’s power steering system could need replacement parts over time. The hoses, pumps, and rack and pinion, for example. When these components show the effects of wear and tear, they will not be steered efficiently.

5. Checking Power Steering Fluid

If you notice the sound of a whine coming from your car’s hood as you turn or you’re having difficulty turning the steering wheel, then your vehicle could be low on fluid for the power steering.

Be sure to test your engine’s power steering fluid in your vehicle by following these simple steps:

  1. Warm the machine to its average operating temperature. Get the liquid to the desired temperature by rotating the wheel until it stops.
  2. Turn it in the opposite direction. Repeat the procedure several times.
  3. Follow the steps listed below.
  4. Turn off the engine.
  5. Find the reservoir for power steering beneath the hood. Wipe it and the cap, and wash it with a clean cloth.
  6. Verify the fluid level by looking at the dipstick attached to the cap. Cleanse, remove and reinstall the dipstick.
  7. Remove the dipstick and see the point at which the level is. If it’s below that MIN line, then add more fluid, but not more than what is allowed by the MAX line.
  8. Verify whether the water is of good quality. The suitable fluid will appear clear and free of any trace of particles. The contaminated fluid may appear cloudy, dark, or even foamy.

When should I have my Subaru’s power steering replaced?

One fluid that’s often ignored in the case of a Subaru is the power steering fluid. Aside from an occasionally scheduled inspection, Subaru does not provide the exact time frame for service. So we’ve in recent years been dealing with increasing numbers of problems with the power steering fluid.

The design of 2000 and later models leads to a situation where old fluids can cause problems with power steering and affect the seals and internal components.

Flushing the fluid is the best solution to this problem. You can also use a turkey baster to remove the fluid from the reservoir. But you’ll be required to do this and then refill it several times until you’ve even got a trace of clear liquid.

The more recent models of Subaru vehicles are susceptible to the old fluid, which over time impacts the return line o-ring. It could cause a tiny air leak, causing the liquid to get Aerated. This will typically begin as a cold engine worsens and, if left untreated, could eventually cause damage to your power steering pump.

The 2000-2009 models with four cylinders can come with an O-ring that can not seal correctly when cold due to the fluid that causes it to shrink with time. The seal will no longer be closed until the o-ring is warmed up to expand into the body that seals the pump for power steering.

It’s been a typical repair for a long time to seal the pump for power steering to prevent external leaks of fluid. For the 2000 and later models, we have noticed more minor leaks but more significant real-time symptoms, which must be addressed.

At a minimum, you need to replace the o-ring on the return line and flush the system when there is the sound of a power steering caused by the aeration of fluid.

How do I change the power steering fluid on a Subaru Outback?

Changing the fluids for the power steering system within the Subaru Outback isn’t complicated. The steps to follow are:

  1. Locate your power steering reservoir. It’s on the vehicle’s left after you’ve opened the hood using an orange cap.
  2. To get rid of the yellow cap, clean the lid, then turn around to turn it left. After you have removed the cap and the pump is in place, you can insert it into the reservoir. There’s no need to buy pumps for this, but anything that can take the liquid out of the pool can do the job.
  3. End the old reservoir fluid. To avoid mess, make sure you have something to collect any liquid that falls onto your hood.
  4. Replace the cap after adding fresh fluid to the reservoir.

Related post: subaru outback problems


Have you got knowledge about Subaru power steering fluid? The pump pressurizes the fluid for power steering that is in your Subaru. It gives you the hydraulic power for turning your wheel.

The process of draining the fluid for power steering is a cheap method of protecting and preserving the more costly components in the steering mechanism.

If it is left untreated for a long time, the contaminated fluid for power steering could cause damage to the pump or, in the worst case, cause damage to the rack. These are both costly components to replace.