A power steering fluid exchange is essentially the same as other systems in your car which rely on oil for lubrication, cooling, or hydraulic function. The old fluid has to be drained occasionally and replaced with new fluid. It's based on the amount of mileage the car has and is outlined when to perform in the owner's manual. It might not seem important, but it is, in fact, a crucial aspect of ongoing maintenance to assure you get the longest life out of the vehicle with as few problems as possible, while it continues to perform as the engineers designed it for your driving satisfaction.
Power steering fluid needs to be exchanged for one of several reasons. The first is because it can become contaminated. If the system has been compromised, condensation can form in the lines or dust and debris can get in the system, interrupting the fluid's ability to function like it's supposed to. A second reason is that the fluid breaks down on a molecular level over time. Whether it gets burnt from high temperatures or frozen at night in certain climes, over time such forces along with the pressures contained in the system as the fluid controls power steering can cause it to break down and become less efficient than when it was new. Another reason for the fluid exchange is when the fluid hasn't been compromised, but there's simply no way to know without an inspection, which can only be performed by draining the old fluid.
If the fluid isn't changed, the power steering will eventually stop working, causing a safety issue and making the vehicle's handling performance suffer. At that point, the system is likely to develop a leak, spilling oil on the ground and causing what is going to eventually be more expensive repairs than simply changing the fluid would have been. Although it's an inconvenience, some people might think they don't need power steering to drive until the vehicle fails a safety inspection, and they wind up having to have the original repair made anyway, along with any further damage which has been caused by the initial compromised parts.
Although you or a local mechanic can top off power steering fluid with oil from a parts store, today's cars really need to be serviced by an authorized dealer such as Hiley Hyundai of Burleson, TX, serving the Arlington area and surrounding Johnson County. Our work maintains the vehicle warranty, and our technicians understand how and why to conduct maintenance properly according to vehicle specifications.