If the power steering fluid level is low, you will hear a whine when you turn the steering wheel. It is not recommended to drive your Acura with a low-power steering fluid. Doing so will eventually burn the power steering pump.
What you will need
The following steps will help you check and add power steering fluid to Acura vehicles.
Open the hood. Locate the hood release underneath the dash. Pull the lever until you hear the hood pop open.
- Next, go to the front of the vehicle and release the hood safety latch at the hood's front. Lift the hood and make sure the hood stays up.
Locate the power steering reservoir.
- Remove power steering cap Once you locate the power steering reservoir on your Acura, remove the plastic cover. Remove the cap and inspect the current condition of the power steering fluid.
- Add power steering fluid if the level is low.
This guide applies to multiple Acuras, including TL, CL, RL, TSX, RDS, ILX, TLX, RLX, MDX, ZDX.
The most common symptom that your Acura is low on power steering fluid is whining or groaning noise coming from the engine.
- Acura makes a groaning noise when turning the steering wheel,
- The steering wheel is difficult to turn, typically at cold start,
- Whining noise when turning the steering wheel left or right,
- Acura steering wheel is slow to respond,
- Acura steering wheel feels stiff,
- Squeaking noise at startup
Seals and O-rings
The #1 problem with Acura vehicles is a power steering fluid leak from a defective o ring gasket.
These gaskets are part of the power steering system and become brittle over time, which causes leaks and allows air to enter the PS system.
If you don't mind getting dirty and some basic DIY skills, you can purchase a new Acura Power Steering Seal Kit (eBay link) and replace the damaged o-ring yourself.
Another problem with Acuras is a leak from the power steering pump hose. The hose can develop longitudinal cracks or may crack at the clamp.
Replacing the hose is a relatively easy DIY job and inexpensive repair.
The average cost to replace an Acura power steering pump can range from $200 to $600.
At the dealership, the cost to replace the power steering pump on a late model Acura can cost over $650.
It is possible to replace the Acura power steering pump yourself and save hundreds of dollars.
The cost of a new Acura power steering pump (eBay link) can range from $65 to $150. You need two to three hours to change an Acura power steering pump yourself.
How to change the Acura power steering pump
A brief overview of how to change the Acura power steering pump.
What you will need
- Basic Tools
- 4" ratchet extension
- Open the hood and locate the power steering pump.
- Remove the serpentine belt.
- Remove the high-pressure line from the power steering pump.
- Remove the return line from the power steering pump.
- Remove the mounting bolts.
- Remove and replace
Recommended Power Steering Fluid
Most Acuras use Honda HG Genuine Power Steering Fluid (# 08206-9002), formulated specifically for Acura.
Genuine Honda power steering should be used whenever possible. Aftermarket power steering fluids will work, but when used for an extended period of time, they may impact the power steering seals.
Acura has recalled thousands of cars for power steering issues. It is recommended to call the Acura dealer and provide them with your VIN.
Ask if there are any service bulletins or recalls. If there are recalls, the Acura dealer will fix the power steering problem free of charge.
If there is a service bulletin, the dealer may or may not fix the problem free of charge. It doesn't hurt to ask.
Here are some examples of Acura power steering pump recalls and service bulletins.
Power Steering Moans or Whines During Cold Start-Up
A moan or whine is heard when turning the steering wheel when the engine is cold. There may be air bubbles or foam in the power steering reservoir.
The noise usually goes away when the engine warms up. Air is entering the power steering pump through the inlet joint O-ring.
This causes bubbles to form in the power steering fluid, leading to reduced pump performance.
TL Power Steering Feed Hose Leak
Prolonged high under-hood temperatures may cause the power steering hose to deteriorate prematurely and cause the hose to crack and leak power steering fluid.
Power steering fluid leaking onto a hot catalytic converter will generate smoke and lead to an under-hood fire.