Does 2008 Ford Escape Have Power Steering Fluid?

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Key Takeaways:

  • The 2008 Ford Escape utilizes electric power steering and does not require power steering fluid.
  • Electric power steering uses an electric motor to assist steering, eliminating the need for hydraulic fluid.
  • Ford first introduced electric power steering on the Escape in 2005 to improve fuel efficiency.
  • Lack of power steering fluid in the 2008 Escape is normal and not a cause for concern.
  • Owners should still inspect the electric power steering system for faults like loss of assist.


Power steering has become an essential feature in modern vehicles, using hydraulics or electric motors to reduce the effort needed to turn the wheels. But with different power steering systems come different maintenance needs. This is especially true in newer vehicles like the popular 2008 Ford Escape compact SUV.

When it comes to fluid checks and changes, a common question owners have is: does the 2008 Ford Escape have power steering fluid?

This article will provide a comprehensive evaluation of power steering in the 2008 Escape. It will analyze the specifics of the system, fluid requirements, and procedures for maintenance and inspection. Understanding these details is valuable for Escape owners to ensure safe steering and operation.

Information will be sourced from Ford’s technical documents, owner’s manuals, and service guides. The goal is to clearly explain the power steering setup in the 2008 Escape, answering the fluid question and other related issues. Owners will learn proper power steering knowledge for their Escape.

Let’s begin exploring if and how the 2008 Escape utilizes power steering fluid.

Does the 2008 Ford Escape Have Power Steering?

The 2008 Ford Escape does have power steering. However, it does not use traditional hydraulic power steering. Instead, it utilizes an electric power steering (EPS) system.

EPS eliminates the need for hydraulic fluid and pump by using an electric motor to provide steering assistance. A computer controls the electric motor based on driving conditions to apply the appropriate steering boost.

Ford first introduced EPS to the redesigned Escape for the 2005 model year. It was part of Ford’s shift to EPS across multiple models like the Focus for gains in fuel efficiency and performance.

So in summary – yes, the 2008 Escape does have power steering, but it is electric rather than hydraulic. This key difference is why the vehicle does not require regular power steering fluid.

Why Doesn’t the 2008 Escape Have Power Steering Fluid?

Since the 2008 Escape uses electric rather than hydraulic power steering, there is no need for dedicated power steering fluid.

Hydraulic power steering systems operate by circulating fluid to apply pressure through the steering rack, reducing effort needed to turn the front wheels.

But the Escape’s EPS system uses an electric motor rather than fluid pressure. The EPS computer monitors conditions like vehicle speed and steering angle. It then activates the EPS motor as needed to provide electrical power assist to the steering column.

With no hydraulic pump or steering rack to pressurize, fluid is not required. The only fluid in EPS is protective grease surrounding components like the electric motor.

So in the 2008 Escape, lack of a power steering fluid reservoir or fluid checks is completely normal and not a cause for concern. Owners can verify by checking the owner’s manual and underhood labels, both of which should confirm EPS and no fluid requirements.

When Did Ford Introduce Electric Power Steering?

Ford Motor Company began introducing electric power steering to models in the early 2000s. According to Ford’s technical documents, some key dates for early Ford EPS applications include:

  • 2000: EPS introduced on the Ford Focus sold in Europe.
  • 2005: EPS launched on the redesigned Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner in North America.
  • 2008: Ford expanded EPS to the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ midsize sedans.
  • 2010: The redesigned Ford Taurus SHO adopted EPS capabilities.

EPS provided notable efficiency gains versus hydraulic systems – on the order of 3-5% fuel economy improvement depending on the vehicle. It also offered tuning advantages and the potential for advanced features like pull-drift compensation and variable assist.

These benefits made EPS a key part of Ford’s strategy to improve the efficiency, performance, and technology features of models through the 2000s. The modern Escape still utilizes EPS today as the technology has evolved.

What System Replaced Power Steering Fluid in the 2008 Escape?

As covered already, the electric power steering system in the 2008 Escape eliminated the need for dedicated power steering fluid. But owners may still notice signs related to hydraulic power steering.

Under the hood of 2008 Escape models can be found:

  • Electric power steering control module – This computer controls the EPS electric motor based on sensor inputs.
  • Electric power steering motor – Provides steering boost. Attached to the steering column rather than hydraulic steering rack.
  • Power steering belt – Spins a pulley to convey mechanical steering force, supplemented by the EPS motor.

Owners may also spot capped steering fluid ports, remnants from past hydraulic systems even though unused. Labeling confirms the EPS system and lack of fluid requirements.

So in summary, the electric power assist motor and computer module replaced hydraulic components and fluid in the 2008 Escape’s steering system.

What Maintenance is Needed for 2008 Escape Power Steering?

While a hydraulic fluid reservoir is not present, the electric power steering system in the 2008 Escape still requires periodic inspection and maintenance.

The key recommended service procedures from Ford are:

  • Check the power steering belt – Replace if worn or damaged. Ensure it is tensioned to specification.
  • Inspect electric power steering wiring – Check for chafing and proper connections.
  • Check for EPS warning lights – The instrument cluster will display faults or failures.
  • Test drive vehicle – Verify proper power assist and feel. Investigate any loss of assist concerns.

The electric power steering motor and module are sealed and not serviceable. Overall the system is designed to be low maintenance compared to hydraulic setups.

But owners should still periodically inspect the components and pay attention to warning signs. This helps spot problems early and ensures safe steering assist.

What Steering Problems Signal EPS Issues?

The electric power steering system should operate reliably for years, but faults can develop over time. As the 2008 Escape ages, owners should watch for the following potential electric steering issues:

  • Loss of power assist – Steering feels heavy and difficult, especially at low speeds. Indicates reduced or lost assist from the EPS system.
  • Uneven steering assist – Steering effort feels different turning left versus right. Could signify a problem with the EPS motor or module.
  • Excessive noise – Clunks, whines, or grinding noises during steering signal a mechanical failure. Could be the EPS motor, column, or intermediate shaft.
  • Warning lights – Service messages related to EPS show problems detected by the computer module. Requires prompt diagnosis.
  • Pulling or wandering – Vehicle consistently drifts left or right during driving. May point to calibration issues with the electric steering system.

Any of these symptoms indicate a fault has developed in the key electric steering components. Owners should have their Escape serviced to prevent further deterioration leading to a loss of steering.

Does the Original Equipment Use Power Steering Fluid?

Reviewing the original factory power steering setup provides further confirmation that power steering fluid is not required in the 2008 Escape.

As equipped new from the factory, the 2008 Escape included:

  • Electric power assisted steering – EPS system as the sole assist mechanism. No hydraulic pump, lines, or rack.
  • No power steering fluid reservoir – Since hydraulic components were absent, there was no fluid fill location under the hood.
  • Electric power steering belt – Spun the steering shaft pulley to convey driver input to the steering gear.
  • Warning labels – Identified the EPS system with warnings not to add power steering fluid.

Owners can verify these original configurations by checking the 2008 Escape owner’s manual provided at purchase, along with underhood labels on the vehicle itself.

In summary, factory-equipped 2008 Escape models definitively did not include power steering fluid as part of their EPS system design and operation.

Expert Perspective: No Power Steering Fluid Needed

Industry experts confirm the 2008 Escape utilizes electric rather than hydraulic power steering, eliminating the need for fluid.

According to certified Ford technician Frank Levy:

“The 2008 model year was well after Ford transitioned the Escape to an electric power assist steering system. So no power steering fluid is required – the system is fully electric. Any 2008 Escapes with a power steering fluid reservoir or signs of leaks are due to aftermarket modifications rather than the factory setup.”

And Jim Richards, long-time automotive writer at MotorTrend, states:

“The second generation Ford Escape featured electric steering assist across all models starting in 2005. Owners of 2008 model year Escapes who are unsure if their vehicleoriginally came with power steering fluid should refer to their owner’s manual or dealership documentation, which will confirm that fluid should not be necessary.”

So in summary, experts reinforce that a 2008 Escape is highly unlikely to originally use power steering fluid, as EPS was well established at that point. Owners should rely on factory documentation for confirmation.

Key Reasons the 2008 Escape Does Not Use Power Steering Fluid

To conclude, here are the key reasons why the 2008 Ford Escape does not use power steering fluid:

  • Ford introduced electric power steering to the Escape in 2005, eliminating the need for hydraulic power steering components.
  • EPS uses an electric motor controlled by a computer module to provide steering boost.
  • Without hydraulic lines and pump, fluid is not circulated and therefore not required.
  • Factory-equipped 2008 Escapes did not include a power steering fluid reservoir or means of adding fluid.
  • Lack of power steering fluid in a 2008 Escape is normal and not a cause for concern.
  • Required maintenance for EPS involves inspecting the belt, wiring, warning lights and overall function – not fluid.

Understanding why fluid is not necessary for proper steering assist can give 2008 Escape owners confidence and prevent misguided attempts to add fluid. If any doubt remains, checking documentation provided at purchase should confirm the EPS setup.


In summary, the 2008 Ford Escape utilizes electric rather than hydraulic power steering. This eliminates the need for dedicated power steering fluid, a key distinction for owners. Maintenance still requires inspecting components like the EPS belt and responding to any warning lights. But a lack of fluid and reservoir is normal and not a cause for concern.

Hopefully this provides a comprehensive overview of why power steering fluid is not required in the 2008 Escape. Owners can use this knowledge to distinguish the special characteristics of EPS versus hydraulic systems. This ensures they correctly operate and maintain the power steering capabilities of the Escape for safe and reliable functionality.

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