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CarJunky AutoAdvice

adulterated gasoline

Showing 4 out of 4 Posts
Question From rg2209 on adulterated gasoline

my 1994 buick park ave has 78000 miles. it ran great til last week. i thought possibly there was moisture in my gas so i added gas treatment and filled up. no luck. upon further investigation i found an empty bottle of power steering fluid and noticed my gas door had been forced. i think a neighbor kid may have added it to my gas tank. HELP!!! what to do.

Response From johnbrent Top Rated Answer

Something similar had happened to me before but I guess it was a little easier, the gas door was not forced opened but water was placed on the gas tank. My young friends feared running out of gas so they placed a liter of water in the gas tank. I wasn't able to discover the problem until one week later, it wouldn't run well, it will run for about 10 to 15 seconds but will die, sent it to the mechanic and cost me $120. now I know never to lend my car again.

Good luck with your suspect.

Response From dave284

Have you cranked it ?...if youre positive that the gas has been contaminated...drop and drain the tank then purchase a gas cap with a on it. Running it with p.s. fluid in it could cause it to smoke/miss/and damage the o2 sensor.

Response From rg2209

it starts great but runs rough. the locking gas door was forced open. thanks for the input..

98 Buick Century leaky power steering

Showing 4 out of 4 Posts
Question From Swooshski on 98 Buick Century leaky power steering

I've got a 98 Buick Century that all of a sudden has started leaking power steering fluid. It seems to be coming from the big nut located on the rack/pinion assembly. If I read things right, this nut is where you would adjust to take the slack out of steering.

Can anyone tell me what's behind that nut? Is there an O-ring there that could possibly be the whole problem to the leak? Can I removed that nut (count # of turns to remove) without screwing anything up?

It's leaking a lot. I can fill up the reservoir, drive about 25 miles and it will be close to empty (not that I do that) ..... but that's probably a best guess just to explain how much it is leaking.

I've never dealt with rack/pinion assy before so I want some advice before I get in too deep. Thanks!

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Going to really need to know where it is leaking. Try drying it all up and see what you can see or without letting it warm up to much run your finger along lines on the bottom of them. Most leaks will be at the highest place. I haven't had trouble with that block that retains the pinion but who knows? T

Response From Swooshski Top Rated Answer

Hey Tom. Thanks for the reply.

I gave everything a good cleaning yesterday and started the engine. You were right. There is a leak in the passenger side dust boot. With engine running I can see fluid bubbling out.

Is there supposed to be fluid within that boot or do I have another problem with some sort of seal too? I called a parts house and they said they sell a 'boot kit' to replace it. I just need to know if there is another problem to look for once I get the boot off.

Like I said, I haven't messed with rack/pinion much .... but I'm learning. Any additional info you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Congrats - you've found the souce. It's still tricky as I didn't and don't think the rack and pinion can do this but it sounds like it's involved somehow.

You are on the right track and stay with it till fixed. That boot is so tricky to replace it's almost worth replacing the whole shaft with a rebuilt if it's a problem, T

2000 Buick Regal - Power Steering Issues

Showing 2 out of 2 Posts
Question From Joseph27 on 2000 Buick Regal - Power Steering Issues

Year of vehicle: 2000
Make of vehicle: Buick
Model of vehicle: Regal
Engine size: 3.8L (not supercharged).
Mileage/Kilometer: 133k Miles

Hello, I'm not sure where I should post this, so I went with the heavy traffic forum.

I bought my 2000 Buick Regal in July 2007, when I first bought the car the steering was a little weird within the first week of buying it. Example: When I'd pull into a gas station and need to put the car in drive, reverse, drive. I'd be moving the wheel as if I was having to parallel park, and the first seconds of changing from drive to reverse, the wheel would be extremely tight.

In August 2008, I noticed my power steering fluid was leaking. A couple of people told me to just add some Stop-Leak type fluid to it. I did that (added Lucas Power Steering Fluid). It kept leaking, I added another bottle over the course of a couple months.

In October 2008, my girlfriend was taking the car to school like she normally would, and she called me on the phone and said "I don't know what's wrong with that car, but I'm not driving it home". So, I asked her what the problem was. She told me the car doesn't steer at all. I went up there and got the car, and it was EXTREMELY tight steering while the car was sitting there idle. It was basically like there was no power steering. So I moved the wheel back and forth, back and forth, all the way one way, all the way the other way. After I did that, the wheel became a little looser and worked semi-decent.

During the course of the next couple weeks it was starting to get pretty cold (roughly 35-45 degrees everyday), I'd turn the car on, the wheel would be extremely tight while in park and it'd also be making a squealing sound, and I'd move the wheel all the way one way, then all the way the other way. After I did this, the wheel became loose once again and there was no squealing sound. I was thinking because the fluid was so thick (that Lucas Power Steering Fluid is thicker than honey). I figured it took a minute to circulate and heat up. Once I turned the wheel a couple times, the squealing would go away.

Now, the last month and a half or so the moving the wheel before driving it trick doesn't work anymore. The power steering only works with your foot on the gas, or if the car is moving pretty quickly without your foot on the brake. It's drivable, but parking the car for her is next to impossible, because there's no steering at such a low speed.

I also checked my power steering fluid and it's full right now.

There's quite a few things people have said: Power Steering Pump, Rack and Pinion, Power Steering Belt is slipping/loose/worn.

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks a lot.

Response From Tom Greenleaf Top Rated Answer

There's quite a few things people have said: Power Steering Pump, Rack and Pinion, Power Steering Belt is slipping/loose/worn

They are right - it could be any or any combo of those things. When the PS fluid was filled and the leak stop failed that was high time to find out where it was leaking and fix it.

There are only some problems that a PS leak treatment can really help - it's usually a delay of the inevitable at best.

Once PS fluid has been run low there are lubrication issues with the pump and or the rack up to an including ruining them.

Make sure the belt is tight for now and if that is fine then you probably need help determining replacement of the pump and possibly the rack as well now.

Note: Steering is naturally easier when rolling along even a little. When stationary the tires are scrubbing in place which is covered by power assist but still a lot of work for it. Also- forcing steering when at the end of its travel puts an incredible force on the components and can cause a problem with systems that didn't have one - use common sense with that stuff,


2001 Buick Cat/o2 sensor contamination P0420

Showing 4 out of 19 Posts | Show 15 Hidden Posts
Question From terasys on 2001 Buick Cat/o2 sensor contamination P0420

Well. My car:

2001 Buick LeSabre Custom 3.8 160k miles

has the infamous p0420 code. I have noticed decreased fuel efficiency (on average the last week its around 12 mpg.... yeah..)

I know the code points to the Cat not working efficiently or as it should, but I wanted to test the upstream o2 sensor first because that could explain the bad gas mileage.

It passed inspection last year only because the mechanic cleared the code and then let it slide. I decided to test the upstream o2 sensor first before shelling out 100's.

It seemed to be working fine: went up to 0.9 volts under high temps and went back down to under 0.1 volts very quickly in around 1-2 seconds. Seems pretty normal. BUT, the head of the o2 sensor was chalky white. Which is a tell tale sign of silicone contamination. I suppose this could lead to my cat being inefficient and thusly throwing the code.

The problem is: I read online that coolant has silicone in it. Last year I got a coolant flush and got it filled up. Since then, my coolant reservoir has gone from about 1/3-1/2 full to pretty much empty right now. Does it usually just go away like that? Could it be leaking into the engine somehow? Could this be put on the mechanic's (Sears..psh) fault? Did they mess it up somehow and make a leak?

I also have a pretty good (bad) power steering leak. I need to put a new bottle in about every 2 weeks or so. I ALSO have a slight oil leak too. The guy who owned the car before me said it just burns up as it drips off. I need to add a quart of oil every 3-4 months MAYBE. I haven't since probably last summer and it needed 2 quarts when I recently did add some.

The bottom of my car has a pretty decent layer of black tar/oil coating everything. including almost all of the hoses near the front axle. My car will leak (which I believe is power steering fluid) 100% of the time. No matter if I let it sit for an hour or 2 seconds. it is constantly dripping.

Any ideas?

Should I test the downstream o2 sensor? (pain in the ass)


Response From Hammer Time

Some of what you are saying has a little truth and most of it is out in left field.

Coolant doesn't contain silicone, some of it contains silicates but not Dexcool which is what you should have in there.

You have a bad Cat. The PO420 rarely indicates anything but a bad Cat because of the criteria it takes to set that code. The white on the 0/2 sensor doesn't mean anything bad and that's pretty normal. You're way off on how the 0/2 is supposed to operate also. I don't know where your coolant is going but you should be able to find out with some careful pressure testing. That particular engine has a known problem with intake manifold deterioration causing coolant to leak into a vacuum chamber under it. There is a TSB on that.

Response From terasys

Link deleted.................. is where I found the information about the o2 sensors colors.

I wanted to save so money so what I was going to do was buy a cat online (they run from (what i saw) around 90-300) and I know a mechanic who will install one for about 75 bucks.

will that clear the code? Should I get him to install new o2 sensors as well? Or should I just buy a new upstream? Because honestly I went through 4 gallons (16 dollars) of gas going about 45 miles.

What is a TSB? Can you link this?

Response From Hammer Time

We don't allow links on the site but I will post an image of the TSB. They don't list your year but it's still possible. As I said, you need to pressure test.

I wouldn't even attempt to buy a converter online. Just go to a custom exhaust shop and they will install one for likely less money that you can even buy one. My shop gets $180 installed for a universal cat.

As far as the 0/2s, don't be too concerned with the color as much as how they operate. Sensor will deteriorate over time so changing them is never a bad idea. The upstream is the only one that has anything to do with fuel mixture. The downstream is a Cat monitor only.

Response From terasys

Okay awesome.

I figured it would be like 400-600 for something like that.

I will call a couple places and see what the prices look like.

Thanks for that pic but where do I find more information? Just googling?

And: I read many reviews online that a new cat sometimes does not clear the code. Any reason why it wouldn't in my case? (Your best guess obviously).
Thanks again!

Response From Hammer Time Top Rated Answer

I have seen that code dozens of times and only once did a new Cat not resolve it and in that case, the exhaust pipe had a crack in it just ahead of the cat and the oxygen was confusing the sensors.

Response From terasys

How long will it take to have the code come back on after clearing it? Its been over 25 miles since I cleared it and it has not come back yet..

Response From Hammer Time

It takes a while because the computer has to see very specific criteria and it may have to see it more than once.

Here's some reading for you on that code

In order to control emissions of Hydrocarbons (HC) , Carbon Monoxide (CO) , and Oxides Of Nitrogen (NOx) , a three-way catalytic converter is used. The catalyst within the converter promotes a chemical reaction which oxidizes the HC and CO present in the exhaust gas, converting them into harmless water vapor and carbon dioxide. The catalyst also reduces NOx, converting it to nitrogen. The converter also has the ability to store excess oxygen and release the stored oxygen to promote these reactions. This Oxygen Storage Capacity (OSC) is a measurement of the catalyst's ability to control emissions. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) monitors this process using a Heated Oxygen Sensor (HO2S) located in the exhaust stream past the 3-way converter. When the catalyst is functioning properly, the HO2S 2 is slow to respond to a large change in the HO2S 1 signal. When the HO2S 2 responds quickly to a large change in the HO2S 1 signal, the OSC and efficiency of the catalyst is considered to be bad and the MIL will be illuminated if subsequent tests also indicate a failure.


  • Meet he conditions for engine warm up. Use the scan tool catalyst data list in order to verify the following.
  • DTCs P0101, P0102, P0103, P0107, P0108, P0112, P0113, P0117, P0118, P0121, P0122, P0123, P0130, P0131, P0132, P0133, P0134, P0135, P0137, P0138, P0140, P0141, P0171, P0172, P0201-206, P0300, P0336, P0341, P0401, P0403, P0404, P0405, P0410, P0412, P0418, P0440, P0442, P0443, P0446, P0449, P0502, P0503, P0506, P0507, P1133, P1134, P1336, P1351, P1352, P1361, P1374, or P1441 are not set.
  • The engine has been running more than 10 minutes.
  • The Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) is above 70°C(158°F) and below 124°C (255°F).
  • The Barometric Pressure (BARO) is above 75 kPa.
  • The vehicle is in Closed Loop.
  • The Intake Air Temperature (IAT) is above - 20°C (-4°F) and less than 100°C (212°F).
  • The battery voltage above 10.7 volts
  • Warm up the catalyst.
  • Fully open the hood.
  • Place the transmission in park (automatic) or neutral (manual).
  • Set the parking brake.
  • Press and hold the service brake.
  • Each time the engine is started, the diagnostic can run up to 18 times. After the 10-minute run time and before the diagnostic runs the first time, the engine must run an additional 5 minutes between 1500-2500 RPM.

  • For any additional tests on the same key cycle, the engine speed must be between 1500-2500 RPM for 1 minute.
  • In order to activate the diagnostic return the vehicle to idle and put the vehicle in drive, or depress the clutch for a manual transmission.
  • Test the catalyst.
  • Place the transmission in drive (automatic) or neutral (for manuals with clutch depress).
  • VIN K California Emissions- Within 60 seconds the air fuel ratio will go rich below 14.1 for up to 6 seconds , then it may go lean above 15.3 for up to 8 seconds.
  • VIN K FED Emissions-Within 60 seconds the air fuel ratio will go lean above 15.3 for up to 6 seconds , then may go rich below 14.1 for up to 7 seconds.
  • VIN 1-With in 60 seconds the air fuel ratio will go rich below 14.1 for up to 7 seconds , then it may go lean above 15.3 for up to 9 seconds.
  • Check if DTC P0420 has passed or failed this key cycle using the scan tool.

    The PCM determines that the catalyst's oxygen storage capacity is below an acceptable threshold.

  • The control module illuminates the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) when the diagnostic runs and fails.
  • The control module records the operating conditions at the time the diagnostic fails. The control module stores this information in the Freeze Frame/Failure Records.

  • The control module turns OFF the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) after 3 consecutive ignition cycles that the diagnostic runs and does not fail.
  • A current DTC "Last Test Failed" clears when the diagnostic runs and passes.
  • A history DTC clears after 40 consecutive warm-up cycles, if no failures are reported by this or any other emission related diagnostic.
  • Use a scan tool in order to clear the MIL and the DTC.

    Check for the following conditions:
  • The PCM will not enable the catalyst test until following conditions are met:
  • The engine speed is plus or minus 100 RPM from the desired idle.
  • The Throttle Position (TP) is 0.0 percent.
  • The short term integrator is between -20 percent and +20 percent.
  • The catalyst test will abort if the vehicle falls outside the conditions listed below while the test is running:
  • The engine speed is plus or minus 125 RPM from desired idle.
  • The Throttle Position (TP) is 0.0 percent.
  • Short term integrator is between -20 percent and +20 percent.
  • The catalyst test may abort due to a change in engine load, for example, from the A/C or from the coolant fan. If this condition occurs, use the scan tool in order to force the cooling fans ON, and return to Step 2 in the table.

  • IMPORTANT: When using the scan tool to force the cooling fans on use the next list and previous list soft keys to enter the catalyst data list. If the catalyst data list is not entered this way the cooling fan control will be canceled.

  • More than 6 tests may have to be attempted in order to get 6 completed tests. An aborted test counts as an attempted test. The number of attempt tests is limited to 18 per key cycle.

  • After returning to an idle the HO2S 1 signal may stay rich or lean for several seconds causing the test to be delayed.
  • A faulty connection at PCM-Inspect the harness connectors for backed out terminals, improper mating, broken locks, improperly formed or damaged terminals, and poor terminal to wire connection. Use a corresponding mating terminal to test for correct terminal tension.
  • A damaged harness-Inspect the wiring harness for damage. If the harness appears to be OK, observe the display on the scan tool while moving connectors and wiring harnesses related to the sensor. A change in the display will indicate the location of the fault.

  • Response From terasys

    Oh.. I see.

    It came on tonight actually. After driving a total of 30 miles. but I didn't know it had to be specific criteria like that.

    Thanks anyway. I got an appointment on 5/30 as supposedly the best auto place in the area. His appointments can take up to 2 weeks because so many people go to his place. Supposedly he also does not charge much.

    Hopefully it works out okay

    Response From Hammer Time

    You're not looking for the best repair shop in town. You're looking for an exhaust specialty shop. General repair shops are not equipped for custom exhaust and will be more expensive.

    Response From terasys

    The closest thing to an exhaust shop near me is Monro.

    Are they okay?

    I believe I have heard mixed things about them.

    Edit: On their website they are offering a 30% off muffler/catalytic converter sale.

    Will that be pretty cheap? I will call tomorrow.

    Thanks again

    Response From Hammer Time

    It doesn't matter who they are as long as they have a pipe bender on-site. That would mean that they are in the business of making custom exhaust and have the toola and ability to do what's needed at a reasonable price. If they do not make custom exhaust on a regular basis, they cannot be competitive with the price. Midas may be the exception to that. They are always kinda expensive.

    Response From terasys

    Well.. I called one Monro and they said they cannot give me an estimate so I made an appointment on Tuesday morning for them to check it out.

    So I called another Monro and he calculated the cost to be 465 for a universal and 700 for an OEM.

    yeah.... I will keep looking. That is ridiculous

    Edit: Should I be looking for custom exhaust shops?

    Response From Hammer Time

    Edit: Should I be looking for custom exhaust shops?

    Didn't I say that 3 times?

    Response From terasys

    You said "exhaust specialty" shops.

    I have no idea if that is the same as custom? How does custom which includes like stainless steel compare to just having exhaust as a specialty? I guess it is clearer to trained eyes..

    Response From Hammer Time

    OH, come on............

    Exhaust specialty...................... to mean specialize in exhaust repair.

    Maybe you recall reading this....

    Just go to a custom exhaust shop and they will install one for likely less money that you can even buy one. My shop gets $180 installed for a universal cat.

    Response From terasys

    Hahaha Okay okay okay. I got it. I got a couple places lined up.

    Response From Tom Greenleaf

    I have no specific problem with any chain. If they are having a sale go for it. Best will always be OE stuff for exhaust items IMO but if it works and a bargain can't argue,

    (sorry for spammer being removed now)

    Response From terasys

    Well the thing is i Have multiple issues. I want all the leaks fixed as well. I have an appointment on the 30th to get it checked out. If getting a new cat installed is around 200-250 ill get it done. If i can find a better place in the area, ill do it there.

    I havent seemed to find a custom exhaust place.