Hmmmmmmm? Black power steering oil? [Archive] - Chevy Malibu Forum: Chevrolet Malibu Forums

: Hmmmmmmm? Black power steering oil?


dandaco
01-21-2011, 05:44 PM
Although my 2008 Bu is technically out of warranty (75,000km or approx 45,000mi), it has such a long history of issues that my Chev dealer has been providing goodwill work for the last 15,000km. I took it in again this week for ......you guessed it....front end clunking! Rear-end is also still squeeking (when roads are dry). So now that roads are winter-wet, I have to wait for dryer weather to take it in again to find the rear squeek (to be covered by goodwill).

My Bu has had the following warranty work including many items under goodwill: New front bump stops, left strut, new rack (20,0000km ago), new intermediate steering shaft (20,000km ago), rear links, new RH side door actuators, ISS grease pack this past week(even though the ISS has only 20,000km), oxygen sensor and a few other issues.

I usually leave my car at the dealer when having it serviced. This past week when the car was in for a new grease pack for the ISS (to fix the clunking), the dealer called to tell me that the power steering needed to be flushed because the oil was all black. According to the tech, this supposedly often happens with the new generation Bu's original power steering oil because it is of inferior quality compared to what they now use? I was very skeptical about that but agreed to pay for the power steering flush because of all the goodwill work they have done (I kind of felt obligated and didn't want to seem like a cheapskate). Keeping in mind the fact that rack was replaced approx 20,000km ago (12,000mi), here are a couple of questions:

Isn't the power steering oil normally replaced when a new rack is installed:confused:?
If yes, how can the power steering oil turn black in such a short while (20,000km or approx 12,000mi)? Shouldn't I be concerned that the power steering has internal issues if the oil had to be replaced:mad:?
Does GM now use better-than-stock oil when they flush out the system as I was told?
Has anyone ever had their power steering oil turn black (I have had 8 cars without this ever happening) within such low mileage...in fact never had power steering oil turn black ...period?
What is the recommended maintenance on the power steering system?
Am I correct in feeling like the dealer was simply trying to recuperate some costs ($125 for the flush) given all the goodwill warranty work ?


Pretty soon, I'll have to pay rent for all the time my car spends at the dealership :)!!!! Luckily we have a second car (2003 300M Special) that has NEVER had any issues other than regular maintenance and a couple of very minor things.

BTW, There is still noise coming from the front end!:cool:

Sandhopper
01-21-2011, 06:10 PM
Just had my rack replaced this week. The time before they replaced the power steering pump. My PS fluid looks fairly clean at 32,000 miles but then again they just changed out the PS pump. If I start to have anymore strange steering sensations I think I will do the same thing I did with my last two GM Trucks. Suck out all the stock fluid and replace it with Lucas PS treatment and synthetic PS fluid. Worked real well at smoothing out the steering on my trucks. I have never considered getting my PS flushed. Just suck the reservoir dry and refill. Wait 6 months and do it again. Since the PS fluid circulates I don't see a big benefit to flushing. Just my 2 cents.

DrivenDaily
01-21-2011, 06:43 PM
When I get my first oil change I'm going with full synthetic. I never even thought about the PS fluid, but that's a great idea! I'm also gonna look into changing my tranny fluid out for synthetic, but still have to get some input from Starship and chevyguy8893, and anyone else who has experience with doing it. Got any suggestions?

chevyguy8893
01-21-2011, 07:24 PM
Dandaco:

1. When the rack is replaced the power steering fluid is only filled and bled, it changes a decent amount of it, but not all of it.

2. Either way I have never seen power steering fluid turn black except when contaminated by the wrong fluid, dirt, water, etc. I have never seen it turn black in normal situations on any vehicle. The GM power steering fluid brand new is completely clear. Over time it gets dirty and generally looks golden brown, but it's not a bad thing.

3. As far as I know they use the same fluid from the factory as they do in the dealerships when topping off fluid after replacing the rack or other components. If it is flushed they probably use a different fluid from an outside source. Warranty parts replacement requires GM fluid to be put back in.

4. see #2 :)

5. There is not a recommended maintenance schedule for the power steering system according to GM. The flush procedure listed by GM is mainly for fluid contamination, but can be used to change out fluid completely. Power steering flushes at the dealers are done by a machine and generally do not get all of the fluid because of the way it works. It is something sold where I work, but I view it as a waste of money to do because it doesn't get all the old fluid and it puts in an aftermarket, universal, power steering fluid generally mixed with the old still.


DrivenDaily: I say go for a better synthetic fluid for the trans. Amsoil makes some nice trans fluid that offers better protection than factory. If I get the money that is what I will be switching to. http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/atl.aspx

DrivenDaily
01-21-2011, 07:40 PM
Thanks! That was interesting reading. I'm leaning toward Amsoil for the engine, and now I'll seriously consider it for the tranny, and they also have PS fluid. One-stop shopping! :)

chevyguy8893
01-21-2011, 09:06 PM
Thanks! That was interesting reading. I'm leaning toward Amsoil for the engine, and now I'll seriously consider it for the tranny, and they also have PS fluid. One-stop shopping! :)

That is the one problem I have with amsoil. The one stop shopping makes it too easy to spend my money:D. If you end up changing the power steering fluid I can get you the procedure for changing the fluid completely. It is actually fairly easy, but requires two people to do it and apparently can take around 4 quarts to flush it out completely.

Screechymon
01-25-2011, 12:55 PM
Dandaco:

1. When the rack is replaced the power steering fluid is only filled and bled, it changes a decent amount of it, but not all of it.

2. Either way I have never seen power steering fluid turn black except when contaminated by the wrong fluid, dirt, water, etc. I have never seen it turn black in normal situations on any vehicle. The GM power steering fluid brand new is completely clear. Over time it gets dirty and generally looks golden brown, but it's not a bad thing.

3. As far as I know they use the same fluid from the factory as they do in the dealerships.

4. see #2 :)

5. There is not a recommended maintenance schedule for the power steering system according to GM. The flush procedure listed by GM is mainly for fluid contamination, but can be used to change out fluid completely. Power steering flushes at the dealers are done by a machine and generally do not get all of the fluid because of the way it works. It is something sold where I work, but I view it as a waste of money to do because it doesn't get all the old fluid and it puts in an aftermarket, universal, power steering fluid generally mixed with the old still.


DrivenDaily: I say go for a better synthetic fluid for the trans. Amsoil makes some nice trans fluid that offers better protection than factory. If I get the money that is what I will be switching to. http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/atl.aspx

Ahh S@&!, I wish I've read this sooner. I just had the PS flushed. The dealer said it was a little "burnt". He also talked me into flushing the brake system too:confused:

I think I'm misreading your post as #3 and #5 seem to contradict each other. I hope the dealer doesn't use sub par power steering fluid.

chevyguy8893
01-25-2011, 04:12 PM
Ahh S@&!, I wish I've read this sooner. I just had the PS flushed. The dealer said it was a little "burnt". He also talked me into flushing the brake system too:confused:

I think I'm misreading your post as #3 and #5 seem to contradict each other. I hope the dealer doesn't use sub par power steering fluid.

A brake flush isn't a bad thing to do. It is generally good to do when the brakes are done though. Yeah, I am generally bad about putting thoughts into words. I was thinking when they top off the fluid like when they change the steering rack. It depends on the dealer for the flushes. Where I work they use and outside company for the machines and they use their fluids for flushes. As for being sub-par, I think it would depend on the dealer again and the company they choose. It would be expensive to flush the power steering system with GM fluid. Sorry for the misconception from my wording.

Screechymon
01-25-2011, 07:51 PM
A brake flush isn't a bad thing to do. It is generally good to do when the brakes are done though. Yeah, I am generally bad about putting thoughts into words. I was thinking when they top off the fluid like when they change the steering rack. It depends on the dealer for the flushes. Where I work they use and outside company for the machines and they use their fluids for flushes. As for being sub-par, I think it would depend on the dealer again and the company they choose. It would be expensive to flush the power steering system with GM fluid. Sorry for the misconception from my wording.

Thanks for making me feel a little better about this, I was beginning to think they might have pulled one over on me...

chevyguy8893
01-25-2011, 08:32 PM
I wasn't going for saying it is a bad idea to do at all. If the fluid was how you described it, it may save you money in the long run. The only flush I never like to hear about is engine flush which is a scam.

Screechymon
01-26-2011, 02:13 PM
Well I'm not sure what they did or if the PS flush is the culprit but this has seemed to stop the noise I was getting when I started the car, (remote or key). It was 23 this morning and no noise. I'll keep an ear out and see if it starts up again.

A few people were wondering about this in another thread by Bedbug, I don't want to dbl. post. Should I delete this here a rewrite it in the other thread?

DrivenDaily
01-26-2011, 04:02 PM
Nah, leave it here. If it's germane to the other thread, post it there as well if you want to.

budman65
04-21-2011, 12:40 AM
My Malibu just started having steering noises. I'll check my fluid and see if it's discolored.

Chevrolet Customer Svc
04-21-2011, 07:42 AM
budman65,

I look forward to reading about the power steering fluid level and color.

Michelle P., Chevrolet Customer Service

budman65
04-24-2011, 06:55 AM
I checked my fluid over the weekend. It's not as clear as the fluid I put in but definitely not black (a light to mediium brown). I'll keep an eye on the level. If it's leaking oil somewhere, it's a very slow leak.