Roy, thanks for the help thus far. I thought I'd give you a report. Today, I was able to buy the Honda PS fluid. I jacked up the car, added fluid above the high level, then started the car. It started and immediately sounded a little bit better. I then turned the wheel all the way to both sides about 3 times and turned off the car. As I turned the wheels, it felt as if the power steering was struggling a bit. When I checked the fluid level afterwards, it had gone down some. There were a little bit of foamy bubbles in the fluid, and I assumed this meant that there was either air coming into the system or coming out of the system. I waited till the bubbles disapeared, then added more fluid and repeated the process. The second time, it did not struggle as it did the first time, and the noise was a bit better. There were still bubbles afterwards. The third time I went through the process, the noise almost disappeared and there were no bubbles afterwards. I added more fluid to top it off. I then took it for a test drive. It still made the sound some as I accelerated, but it was mostly gone. I did several three point turns, and it seemed that the noise was going away a bit more each time. Now, the noise is virtually gone and the car is driving smoothly.
So, in summary, it seems that there must be a small leak somewhere in the system, and that this caused the fluid level to gradually lower. Over the weeks, as the noise got louder, it must have been because the fluid was getting lower. Once it got to a certain low point, it must have been sucking air into the system and causing the splashing in the reservoir, which caused the fluid to work it's way out through the top at a much faster pace than the original leak.
Does this sound like a reasonable theory, or do you think I am missing something? Supposing this to be the case, it sounds like I need to keep an eye on the fluid level, and if it gradually goes down, then I must then find the leak and get that fixed. I've never had a PS problem in any car that I've owned, but it's been a good learning experience for me to learn how the system works.
Monday, January 4th, 2016 AT 12:15 PM