I'm not sure if you can buy a truck without power steering these days. When I started as a mechanic on trucks in the early 80's, about half of the fleet I worked on didn't have power steering. We had some troubles, leaks mostly, but no major problems. The only maintenance that we performed was checking the fluid levels. I had never heard of a power steering filter until I bought my first Freightliner. As I was perusing the owner’s manual one day, I found a section about steering maintenance. There was a subsection about how to change the power steering fluid and filter. I had to go look at our truck to see what it was referring to, sure enough, there it was.
I had noticed the steering had gotten a little " tougher " while stopped at idle trying to setup for a backing maneuver. Not really hard to steer but just took a little more effort on my part and it made some sounds that I thought were normal for a truck with many miles on it. With that thought in mind I decided to do something about it. So, I hopped on down to my local Freightliner dealer, got a new filter and some new fluid. Once back home I got busy. The change was sort of messy but quite easy. You don't even have to get under the truck to do it. This simple procedure eliminated our " tough, noisy " issue that I thought was normal.
The following video shows how it's done, it took about 30 minutes to do including cleanup. As always, wear your PPE (personal protective equipment) safety glasses, gloves, safe nonslip shoes and long sleeve shirt. Dispose of used oil and filters properly, most auto parts stores that sell oil, take used oil for recycling. If this doesn't look like something you would like to tackle, that's OK, just be aware that the filter and fluid should be changed at least every 300,000 miles, according to the owner’s manual. Any Freightliner shop could do this for you. I would change it immediately if you start noticing any "hesitation " in steering function. This could save you the cost of a new pump or steering gear, and you're looking at thousands of dollars for those parts.
Steering is something we shouldn't " go cheap " with, use factory parts and follow their recommendations for service schedules unless you have an issue. Until next time be safe out there.