If your Sienna squeals or chatters when you turn the steering wheel, or if the steering has become stiffer, you may be low on power steering fluid! Follow this guide to check, and add, power steering fluid to your Toyota Sienna.
This is a very simple maintenance item, BUT it is easy to screw this up. Why? Because Toyota doesn’t use ‘power steering fluid’ in their power steering systems. So don’t just go to the auto parts store and buy some generic power steering fluid and put it in there. The manual for the 2006 Sienna specifies “Automatic Transmission Fluid Dextron II or III.”
This can be confusing for a lot of people, “Why am I putting transmission fluid into my power steering?” But this is correct. You WILL use ATF for your power steering! It is important though, so make sure that you get the designation right, Dextron II or III. If you get the wrong one, it can make things worse.
Adding Power Steering Fluid – Toyota Sienna
Alright, let’s get started!
Step 1: Pop and Prop the Hood
Pop the hood, prop it up, and then locate the power steering fluid reservoir located on the passenger side wheel well.
The top of the reservoir looks like this (notice is specifies DEXTRON type ATF):
Check the side of the reservoir to see the level. There is a different scale for HOT and COLD. In the photo shown below, the vehicle was cold, so in that case, the reservoir on this Sienna is a bit low:
Step 2: Remove the Cover and Add Fluid
Twist the cap to remove it.
Step 3: Verify Proper Fluid Level and Replace the Cap
Watch the markings on the side as you add fluid. When you reach the ‘MAX’ indication line, stop and put the cap back on.
That’s it, take it for a test drive to verify the steering has gotten quieter and more smooth.
If the problem persists, you may need to flush out the old fluid and re-fill it with fresh fluid. To do that, use a turkey baster and suck out as much of the old dirty fluid as possible. Then refill it with fresh fluid. Then drive the vehicle for 50 miles or so and repeat until the fluid has been replaced.
Click here for more tips on maintaining your Toyota Sienna!