How to change the power steering fluid in a rav4

Written by heather finch
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The Toyota RAV4 comes equipped with power steering, which needs fluid to function properly. For the most part you do not need to change this fluid; the reservoir can simply be filled as power steering fluid is lost. If you do need to change the power steering fluid on your RAV4 you should know the basics about car mechanics to ensure no damage is done to the power steering system.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Power steering fluid
  • Large syringe
  • Wrench

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  1. 1

    Park the car with the wheels facing forward (not turned). Turn off the car and detach the cable on the negative battery terminal. You may need to use the wrench to loosen the bolt.

  2. 2

    Insert a large syringe into the power steering fluid reservoir and suck out as much of the fluid as you can.

  3. 3

    Unplug the electrical connector, and unscrew the pressure line-to-pump union bolt. Detach the line and let it drain. Reattach the line, making sure the sealing washers are in place.

  4. 4

    Detach the return hose; let it drain and reattach it.

  5. 5

    Plug the electrical connector back in. Fill the fluid reservoir with power steering fluid. Toyota recommends using Dexron III. Check that the fluid has reached the "cold" mark.

  6. 6

    Start your RAV4. Let it idle and check the fluid again, adding more if necessary to reach the cold mark.

  7. 7

    Turn the steering wheel to the left and then to the right. You need to turn the wheel most of the way without turning it to the point it to the stop point.

  8. 8

    Let the vehicle idle for 4 to 5 minutes and turn it off.

  9. 9

    Test your RAV4 by driving it in a safe place free from traffic, making sure the steering system functions the way it should.

  10. 10

    Check the fluid level once more to make sure it is on the "Hot" mark after driving.

Tips and warnings

  • Instructions based on the Haynes guide for RAV4 manufactured between 2000 and 2003.
  • Only perform this maintenance if you are sure it is necessary and are familiar with automobile mechanics.
  • Disconnect the battery before starting repair to avoid being shocked.

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