Dirty power steering fluid

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p4o2 wrote:

power steering fluid except for a failed component where the whole system drained. As others have said, follow your manual. The auto engineers must have "some" insight as they have built and designed these vehicles for years. How many vehicles has the jiffy lube guy designed and built? Has he read your owners manual and pointed out the section where it says to change the power steering fluid every 3000 miles? Your fluid is a different color because it is doing it's job!
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On 6 Oct 2004 12:13:55 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (p4o2) wrote:

Whether yours actually needs to be changed I do not know, but this is an old, well-known scam at many of these places. Beware. Get a second opinion from a qualified mechanic who can actually see the fluid and the car.
This is why I feel it's a good idea to cultivate a good, trained local independent mechanic by letting him do all or most of the work on your car.
(I'm no mechanic myself, but I am the sole financial support of a 1987 Mercedes 420 SEL and a 1989 Chrysler New Yorker).
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p4o2 wrote:

First of all, how old is the vehicle? No fluid lasts forever. Dirty means contamination, if it is REALLY dirty and old, replacing it with fresh fluid is good thing. Same with tranny, radiator coolant, differential fluid, you name it. It's your car you decide. Tony
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alt.autos.gm
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Ah, yes! That's how they sell things. At a recent lube job, the guy told me my 25,000 mile car had never had the (self adjusting) brakes adjusted. I asked him how much to see how gullible he thought me -- $45. Today, lubing my 12,000 mile Mazda at another place, they showed me the air filter with some barely discernable gray at the edges asking me if I wished to replace it. A couple of years ago, I was shown my PCV, dirty with cigarette ashes, suggesting it be replaced -- not hard to figure how it got dirty.
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I've seen Jiffy Lube bring out a white paper towel with a smear of tan transmission fluid that supposidly, and probably did, come from my car, together with another of new red fluid. Then they tell you it needs to be changed and they recommend changing it every 30,000 miles.
I agree with the posters who think this is done to generate revenue. At the time I had this done to me, I had the GM shop manual for the car. It said it was normal for transmission fluid to turn brown with use, that it was not an indication that anything was wrong with it, and that under average conditions, the fluid and filter should be changed at 100K miles.
I have to disagree with those that say there is no harm in changing it sooner. These lube places drop the pan in the process to put in a new filter. Anytime you open up a closed system like that, you run the risk of introducing contamination, ie pieces of gasket material, dirt, etc, especially when it's done by employees of lube places, as opposed to real mechanics. I've seen them use pliers to loosen nuts and once they topped off my cooling system, which had the new 100K mile anti-freeze, with regular. It wound up plugging the system in a new car and later cost a couple hundred bucks to flush and fix at the dealer.
People also need to realise that the environment in a transmission is totally different than in an engine. Oil is principally contaminated by the byproducts of combustion in the engine. It's also exposed to higher temperatures. That's why it needs to be changed frequently. The conditions in a hydraulic system are very different. People have referred in this thread to the tranny fluid being "dirty." As per GM, just because the color of a fluid has changed, doesn't mean there is dirt in it.
If you want to change it with some extra margin, like at 75K or so, I think that's fine. Changing it and the filter more frequently is not only wasting money, but IMO, actually making failure more likely, do to introducing contamination in the process.
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alot depends on driving habbits....an automatic transmission creates alot of heat(that is why they all have a cooler) and the fluid is subjected to all the heat...that is what turns the fluid "brown"...it becomes contaminated with "dust" from the clutch packs wearing, and burned from overheating....automatic transmission fluid is loaded with detergents because buildup of clutch material would be fatal to the small passages and sealing surfaces in the valve body....the filter catches the larger stuff, but the small stuff is left suspended in the fluid, therefore the color of the fluid changes...so yes, the fluid changing colors is "normal", that means it is doing its job...but its also normal for people to not adhere to factory maintenance schedules(which are a stretch/comprimise, because no one wants a "high maintenance" vehicle)....wanna talk fluid abuse? when was the last time you changed your brake fluid? ------------------- Chris Perdue "I'm ever so thankful for the Internet; it has allowed me to keep a finger in the pie and to make some small contribution to those younger who will carry the air-cooled legend forward" Jim Mais Feb. 2004
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Chris Perdue wrote:

Maybe he never saw a burnt out tranny fluid or did heavy towing. Tony
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And maybe you don't know that heavy towing is not average conditions as defined by the manufacturers.
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Had the opposite happen once. I had a '78 Monte Carlo and the trans was not shifting properly at times. I took it to a major chain for the free estimate. They drained the fluid, dropped the pan and then gave me a $200+ estimate for repair. It would be $250 if I came back later. I told them no thanks and they put the fluid back in with dire warnings of potential problems.
It never missed a shift after that! I have no idea what the real problem was or how just draining the fluid would fix anything, but I got rid of the car 20,000 miles later and still working OK.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

A client comes in with a trans slip or other problem. The first thing I'm going to do is flush the trans. Out with the old oil, in with the new with fresh detergent properties. Shifting problem went away?? Probably as less valves are getting gummed up and unstuck from old oil that lost it's detergent properties! BTW, more times than not, that flush will fix problems before I farm out a $1000 repair to a trans shop!

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wrote in message

I agree! I have "saved" a failed transmission more than once with fresh fluid and a filter. You guys can do what you want! If my tranny fluid is brown, it is getting changed! Clean fluid and a new filter never ruined a transmission! (It never gets brown! I change it before it gets that color!) Greg
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A new auto-trans is expensive. I think it doesn't hurt at all to replace the fluid more often, especially under severe duty. IF you can do it yourself it is even cheaper. Granted, you won't get the full flush and some old fluid will stay behind, but if you do it more often (like every 25K ) that won't matter. And your transmission WILL last longer. For more ease, add a drainplug to the pan so it's even less effort to change it.
On 7 Oct 2004 04:32:56 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net (Chet Hayes) wrote:

Remove NO-SPAM from email address when replying
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It might be worthwhile to change out your power steering fluid every 100,000 miles or so. Emphasis on "might". The fluids that you should really be more concerned about changing on a regular basis are the motor oil, brake fluid, and antifreeze (and in that order; I do brake fluid more often than antifreeze).
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scott snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Childfree Scott) wrote in message

This fluid change post comes up in the car groups regularly and is always debated needlessly. Myth is passed on from generation to generation. A lifetime of driving old cars and paying attention to others tells me that those who make their vehicles and its components last the longest chance their fluids the most. I change PS fluid every year as well as brake fluid,transmission and antifreeze. The differential is changed every few years. I never have a driveline failure. Look in the car groups for those 250K-300K mile Chevys. They are maintained. The local car show here has a lady who was a currier putting on tons of mileage. She was at the dealer every week for maintenance. When she had 350,000 miles on her Dodge Neon she gave it to her sister who continued to put more miles on it. All this maintenance can be wasted if you plan on trading the vehicle right away or if there is a genetic flaw in the vehicle. That's the risk you take, but maintenance is the way to go for those who hope to keep their vehicles.
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Ford products with power steering pumps that utilize type F transmission fluid seem to be the only cars I come across that need power steering fluid changes. In particular fox body based cars of the 1980's thru early 1990's and Taurus/Sable variants. The fluid in these pumps turn solid black and the pumps get very noisy once up over 70.000 miles. Steve
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