Quicksilver Blog

How to Check and Top Off Mercury Outboard Power Steering Fluid

The power steering system that is standard with Mercury® Verado® outboards, and an option or accessory for some Mercury FourStroke outboards, is an electro-hydraulic system. This means an electric pump circulates hydraulic fluid to the steering cylinder on the outboard, which then steers the engine. This power steering fluid is constantly circulating through the system. Control of the flow may be through the helm, or on boats equipped with Mercury Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO), controlled digitally.

Mercury recommends checking the power steering fluid level annually or every 100 hours, so this check is an item to add to your annual maintenance list. The power steering fluid reservoir is part of the pump assembly, which is located within a black plastic enclosure with a cone-shaped lid. This enclosure may be located within the transom, in the boat bilge or inside the center console. Boats equipped with JPO will have an enclosed pump for each outboard. The lid is secured with two elastic straps. Release the straps and lift off the lid, and you’ll see the white plastic fluid reservoir. You should be able to see the fluid level through the translucent plastic reservoir, but it may be easier to accurately gauge the level after removing the black reservoir cap. The power steering fluid level should be slightly below the bottom of the fill hole.

If the fluid level is low the reservoir can be topped off using Quicksilver® Full Synthetic Power Steering Fluid, which is formulated specifically for the Mercury power steering system. Standard Quicksilver Power Trim and Steering Fluid should not be used in this application.

The power steering system does not wear and should not consume power steering fluid. If the reservoir is very low, or goes low soon after you’ve topped it off, it is likely that the system has a leak and should be inspected by a professional marine technician.

With the fluid topped off, you can continue exploring your favorite waters with the peace of mind that your Mercury outboard’s power steering system is performing as it should.