Do I need to change the power steering fluid in my Forester?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader questioning a technician's recommendation.

The 2012 Subaru Forester.
The 2012 Subaru Forester. –Subaru

Q. My seven-year-old Subaru Forester with 75,000 miles on it was recently at a quick lube. The technician told me the power steering fluid looked dirty and needed to be changed. Should power steering fluid be changed at that mileage — or any mileage?

A. There is no specific replacement interval for power steering with Subaru vehicles. If the fluid is clean, doesn’t have a no burnt odor, and the level is correct, there is no reason to replace it. The fluid can get contaminated if there is a leak, it overheats, or if components are starting to wear in the power steering system. All fluids get somewhat dirty over time, but a good technician can tell you what’s normal and what’s not.


John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to