Power steering fluid acts as a hydraulic fluid to build up pressure on the wheels to make it easier for you to steer your car. The power steering pump is driven by the engine belts and adjusts the power steering fluid pressure in accordance to driver inputs. Like many other engine fluids, power steering fluid gets dirty and breaks down over time.
Power steering fluid is typically red or light brown when new, however, it often turns very dark, or even black when it gets old and dirty. Sometimes drivers will think they have an oil leak, when it is actually power steering fluid that is leaking. Since the fluid is highly pressurized, it is important to change it periodically, otherwise, you risk unnecessary wear on your power steering fluid pump, power steering pressure hoses and other steering components.
We recommend flushing the power steering fluid periodically to get fresh fluid in the power steering system that does not have water molecules and dirt trapped in it. Many new cars now have electric power steering systems, which does not require any power steering fluid and are virtually maintenance free.