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For the last year or so I've noticed air getting into my (03 Accord) PS System as the temperature dropped below freezing. Currently the temperature is way below freezing and the PS leak stopper is simply disappearing when I turn my engine on.

I'm asking if I can expect the system to recover when the temperature warms up, or, if it's probably gone for good.

A few days ago I brought it in for an annual inspection (NYS) and it failed because the rack and pinion was leaking.

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It's probably gone. My leaks in a 1989 Opel Vectra started when cold, but didn't vanish when the temperatures went up. Unfortunately, the only fix is to replace the steering rack, which ain't cheap. Prices for replacement units, even used ones, are sky-high due to high demand and it's relatively laborious to replace the steering rack. My experience with the stop leak fluids is that they don't stop the leak.

If you replace with a used about 15 years old part, do note that the rubber in the used part is probably nearly perished and it will start to leak again in a year or so. That's what happened to me.

The most economical option would be to repair the steering rack with new rubber, but good luck trying to find somebody who is willing to repair it! Steering in a car is a safety critical component, and if somebody gets killed in an accident with repaired steering rack, it may end up to be a liability to whoever repaired it.

Fortunately, due to the advent of electric power steering, these power steering leaks will become more and more rare.

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The short answer is to fix your PS leak. If you insist on going the (presumably) Lucas stop leak route, syphon/drain out the old fluid before using the Lucas.

My condolences for living in an inspection state, but honestly loss of power steering is a serious driving hazard.

  • I have to disagree with loss of power steering being a serious driving hazard. My RAV4 has lost power steering when cold (mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/51997/…) and I have driven a 1989 Vectra with leaking power steering. No hazard at all; the loss only is problem at low speeds. Yes, it should be fixed but can be driven until fixed. – juhist Mar 3 '18 at 21:29
  • hot take, b. hope i never have to drive anywhere near you – Sam Basso Mar 5 '18 at 13:52

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