Audi hydraulic power steering fluid RAVENOL SSF

This blog post discusses the Audi hydraulic power steering fluid system. Wondering what type Audi hydraulic power steering fluid your Audi uses and how often it should be changed? We also discuss the many advancements in Audi hydraulic power steering systems. As well as providing you with a brief overview of how to change your Audi hydraulic power steering fluid.

As an independent Audi service garage and parts specialist with years of hands-on experience, we've seen many mechanical breakdowns on vehicles. Experience has shown that changing your fluids is the single most important preventive maintenance routine you can perform to avoid vehicle breakdowns. Yet, for many Audi owners, this seems to be one of the most neglected areas of maintenance. Thoroughly flushing your fluids at the proper intervals can help your car reach 200,000 miles and beyond! Changing your Audi hydraulic power steering fluid prevents failure of expensive steering pumps, rack and pinions, and other steering related parts.

How Often Should You Change Audi Hydraulic Power Steering Fluid?

Audi power steering fluid reservoir

Many suggest that you don't need to change your Audi hydraulic power steering fluid. Even many vehicle manufacturers scheduled maintenance list don’t even mention changing your hydraulic power steering fluid. We feel this isn't logical. Audi power steering pump is just one component of concern. The moving internal components of the steering pump and steering rack and pinion mesh and wear with one another, creating metallic particles that contaminate Audi hydraulic power steering fluid. It's important to change the Audi power steering fluid as a part of your preventive maintenance schedule. We recommend changing your Audi hydraulic power steering fluid as a first step when attempting to solve hydraulic related issues, such as a noisy steering pump or the intermittent loss of power assisted steering. Vehicles operating in hotter climates or that are subjected to driving in heavy city traffic should have their hydraulic power steering fluid changed every 50,000-60,000 miles. It's good preventive maintenance and is inexpensive when compared to the replacement of an Audi steering pump or Audi steering rack and pinion.

Brief History of Audi Hydraulic Power Steering Fluid Systems

In the 1980’s the Audi 5000 was considered an innovative automobile. The early Audi 5000 models were equipped with a unique hydraulic pump that simultaneously performed both the power assisted braking and power assisted steering. This dual functioning system was used on many Audi models up until around 1996. The 1996 S6 model with 5 Cylinder 20 Valve engine was the last to use it.

Back then, a double vain hydraulic power steering pump performed these two functions (power assist braking and power assist steering), requiring an advanced hydraulic oil that could properly function under the inherent high operating pressures and temperatures generated within this system. This unique system spawned a new era of hydraulic power steering fluids, a mineral based (OE Part Number A0E 041 020 10 or CHF 7.1) hydraulic steering fluid in the early 1980s, later a synthetic based fluid (Audi/VW Quality Specification TL 52 146.00, Audi OE Part Number G 002 000 A2 or CHF11s) in the 1990s and now the fully synthetic fluid (OE Part Number G 004 000 M2 or CHF 202) in the mid to late 2000.

Today, Audi models use a simpler design (compared to what was used back in the 1980s and 1990s). The single vain steering pumps of today typically only generate hydraulic pressure for the power assisted steering function and has a lower operating temperature. Old Audi Hydraulic Power Steering PumpsThe mounting location of the steering pump differs depending on model and engine configuration and may vary on where its mounted. Some are mounted near other heat generating components (i.e. turbochargers). Today's hydraulic fluid must facilitate proper steering pump operation, withstand high temperatures, and ensure reliability over a longer period and under all vehicle operating conditions. Also, since the late 2000’s it’s hard to find a car that has a power steering pump.

Many Audi models have transitioned to an electronic pump or an electronic rack and pinion. This allows for more precise steering, less hydraulic power steering components and the ability to calibrate the amount of steering needed depending on driving variables. Some power steering systems can completely turn off or minimize the power steering assistance when it’s not needed at higher highway speeds. This allows for a more economical driving vehicle with some improvement in fuel economy. Many of these systems still have a small amount of hydraulic power steering fluid but in most cases are not serviceable or can’t be flushed.

Mixing Older Mineral Based with New Updated Synthetic Power Steering Fluid

There has been a good measure of controversy over this question. Here is what our own experience has shown. Over the last decade we've had no compatibility problems mixing the CHF 7.1 non-synthetic mineral base fluid and the CHF 11S synthetic based Audi hydraulic power steering fluid. No problems with our own vehicles and no problems with our customers vehicles. Our success in mixing the 2 Audi hydraulic power steering fluids coincides with the Audi/VW tech bulletin 48-89-T07 issued in November 1989. It states, "The new [synthetic Audi quality specification TL 52 146.00, OE part number G 002 000 A2 or CHF11s] and old power steering fluid [non-synthetic CHF 7.1 OE part number A0E 041 020 10] can be mixed if necessary." So according to Audi, you can mix the 2 Audi hydraulic power steering fluids. Even though the composition of the fluid changed from a synthetic base oil vs a non-synthetic mineral oil.

1980-1989 Audi models came filled from the factory with OE part number A0E 041 020 10 or CHF 7.1 mineral based fluid.

1990-2005 Audi models have come filled from the factory with the synthetic Audi/VW spec TL 52 146.00, OE part number G 002 000 A2 or CHF11s.

2006-current Audi models are filled with the fully synthetic Audi/VW TL 52 146.01, G 004 000 A2, CHF202 spec.

Important Note: Never mix generic power steering fluid or other fluid with Audi power steering fluid (G002000) or CHF202 (G004000). If you or someone else did, flush the Audi power steering fluid as described below. When flushing your hydraulic steering fluid system, we recommend upgrading to the newest fully synthetic Audi/VW G004000 fluid specification.

Basic Overview of How to Change Audi Hydraulic Power Steering Fluid

This overview applies to Audi A4 1996-2001, S4 2001-2002, And A6 All Models 1998-04 (Including Allroad):

We always recommend having an A.S.E. certified Audi mechanic change your Audi hydraulic power steering fluid. Refer to the factory service manual and owners manual for Audi hydraulic power steering system instructions. Always wear gloves and wear safety goggles when handling Audi fluids. Never start the vehicle without Audi hydraulic power steering fluid in the fluid reservoir. This is a basic overview of what is involved when flushing Audi hydraulic power steering fluid. It is not intended to replace the factory service manual.

  1. The Audi hydraulic fluid reservoir is located on the driver’s side inner fender well in the engine compartment right behind the head lamp.
  2. Locate the hydraulic power steering cooler tubing in front of the radiator. Find the rubber hose that attaches to the tubing located near the driver’s side lower corner of the radiator. Disconnect the hose and drain the Audi hydraulic fluid.
  3. Flush the old Audi hydraulic fluid out of the Audi steering rack and pinion. Turn the steering wheel full lock side to side about 10-20 times. This sequence pushes the Audi hydraulic fluid out of the steering rack and into the fluid reservoir for it to drain out.
  4. Some models have a sleeve type filter screen inserted in the fill hole of the Audi hydraulic fluid reservoir. If it has the filter, remove it and clean it. Clean out the sediment that also exists on the bottom of the Audi hydraulic fluid reservoir.
  5. Reinstall the Audi hydraulic fluid hose removed in step (2) and fill the reservoir with G002000/G004000 Audi hydraulic fluid.
  6. Start the engine and let the car run for 10 seconds at idle. Important! Do not rev the engine up. Revving the engine could cause hydraulic pump damage. Repeat this step several times while confirming the hydraulic fluid reservoir is full.
  7. Refill the Audi hydraulic fluid reservoir again with G002000 hydraulic steering fluid.
  8. Start the engine and let the car run at idle, turn the steering wheel full lock about 10 times from side to side.
  9. Turn the engine off and fill the hydraulic fluid in the reservoir to the maximum capacity level as indicated on the reservoir.

This overview applies to 1984-1991 Audi 5000, 100, 200, V8 Models 1984-1994, 1990-1991 Audi 90 20 Valve Models 1990-1991, 1992-1996 Audi S4, S6 Models and 1995-1997 Audi A6 models (Includes 1998 A6 Avant):

We always recommend having an A.S.E. certified Audi mechanic change your Audi hydraulic power steering fluid. Refer to the factory service manual and owners manual for Audi hydraulic power steering system instructions. Always wear gloves and wear safety goggles when handling Audi fluids. Never start the vehicle without Audi hydraulic power steering fluid in the fluid reservoir. This is a basic overview of what is involved when flushing Audi hydraulic power steering fluid. It is not intended to replace the factory service manual.

Audi S6 power steering fluid reservoir location

  1. Audi 5000 100 200 1984-1991 models have an Audi power steering fluid reservoir container that is long, round, and just to the left of your brake master cylinder on the fire wall. Audi 90, V8, S4, S6 models have an Audi power steering fluid reservoir that is located on the driver side inner fender well in the engine compartment right behind the head lamp (see picture).
  2. As you remove the fill cap, you'll see that the cap has a spring and washer attached to it. They apply pressure to the reservoir filter insert. Stick your index finger into the reservoir and pull out the filter insert and clean or replace it.
  3. Locate the hose on the very bottom of the Audi power steering fluid reservoir that runs down to the brake accumulator (a.k.a. the bomb). Loosen the clamp and remove the hose then drain the Audi power steering fluid.
  4. Audi S6 lower power steering hose locationFlush the old Audi power steering fluid out of the Audi steering rack and pinion. Turn the steering wheel full lock side to side about 10 times. This sequence pushes the old Audi power steering fluid out of the steering rack and into the fluid reservoir allowing it to drain out.
  5. Clean out of the bottom of the Audi power steering fluid reservoir.
  6. Reinstall the Audi power steering fluid hose removed in step (3) and fill the reservoir with G002000/G004000 Audi power steering fluid.
  7. Start the engine and let the car run for 10 seconds at idle. Important! Do not rev the engine up. Revving the engine could cause hydraulic pump damage.
  8. Refill the Audi power steering fluid reservoir with new G002000/G004000 hydraulic steering fluid.
  9. Start the engine and let the car run at idle. Turn the steering wheel full lock about 10 times from side to side.
  10. Turn the engine off and fill with power steering fluid. Allow the power steering fluid to fill to the maximum capacity level line located on the reservoir.

Ravenol Power Steering Fluid SSF 1L
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