How To Replace A Power Steering Reservoir

If your steering wheel is suddenly hard to turn, makes a noise while you turn it, or you smell power steering fluid, it may be time to replace the power steering reservoir. Cracks in the reservoir can cause fluid to seep under the vehicle.Before you call for auto repair services, you may be able to replace it yourself. Replacing the reservoir is easy to do by following these steps.

Prepare to Replace the Reservoir

To complete this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • floor jack (optional)
  • rags
  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • open-end wrench
  • socket wrench set
  • drain pan
  • vise grips or clamp
  • power steering fluid
  • power steering hoses (optional)
  • replacement reservoir

Park the vehicle, shut off the motor and engage the parking brake. Allow the motor to cool for about an hour, then raise the hood. Find the battery, and detach the negative battery cable. You may need a floor jack to access the reservoir or pump from under the vehicle.

Remove the Belt 

Consult your manual for the location of the power steering pump and serpentine belt. Insert shop rags under the power steering lines attached to the reservoir to prevent leaks on other parts. 

Inspect The Hose

Check the reservoir hose for damage before you remove the reservoir, and replace it along with the reservoir if needed.

Remove The Belt

Grab the belt tension nut with the correct size socket and ratchet wrench, twist the wrench, the slide the belt off the pump pulley, and set it aside.

Remove the Power Steering Pump 

Look for the metal power steering fluid line attached to the top of the reservoir. Loosen the connector on the line with a wrench, and slide a drain pan under the pump. 

Move the line away from the pump, use a screwdriver to loosen the rubber hose clamp, and push it up and out of the way to avoid leaks. Clamps that have clips need to be cut and replaced. 

Find the bolts that hold the pump to the block, remove the bolts with the right size socket and wrench. If the pump pulley has a hole, insert the extension in the hole, and rotate the bolts to the right. Detach the pump, and set parts aside.

Replace the Reservoir

Look for the two metal tabs on the reservoir, and detach them by pressing them with the screwdriver blade. Close the bottom reservoir hose with vise grips or a clamp to prevent fluid leaks, then depress the tabs to remove it.

Lift the reservoir from the pump body, which will reveal a metal nipple, and check the O-ring for damage. Clean the area between the reservoir and pump.

Install the new hose clamp, if needed, and insert the new reservoir on the pump body with the nipple in the grommet. Use the screwdriver to press the clips back in place, attach the bottom hose, the new reservoir, and tighten the bolts. Reinstall the belt and top hoses, then add power steering fluid to the reservoir.