Can Power Steering Fluid Be Mixed? | Explain Everything

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Almost all new vehicles use power steering, mainly of two types. That is hydraulic power steering and electronics, and these two systems need to use exclusive steering fluid.

There are different types of power steering oils on the market, and most vehicles use universal power steering fluids, and other cars manufacture specific oil. This fluid is made of mineral oil, silicone base oils, and mixed additives. Moreover, they come in different colors like red, amber, pink, or clear.

When oil changes, you may think you can mix old power steering fluids with new ones. Can I use transmission fluids for the power steering system? Moreover, is it safe to mix different colored power steering fluids? Since these are similar hydraulic fluids, most car owners think like that. However, there are slightly different.

I’ll explain everything about mixing different power steering fluids and other essential factors you need to consider when choosing your transmission fluid type and answer frequently asked questions about using it.

Power Steering Fluid

Can Power Steering Fluid Be Mixed?

The answer is no. Mixing two different types of power steering fluid can result in damage to your car’s steering system. Different brands of power steering fluids have different addictive properties in different quantities for the smooth functioning of your car’s power steering. Therefore, mixing two different steering fluids can mix these different chemical additives. This will cause many problems. Also, discolors the existing oil, and it is hard to identify the contamination.

The generally brown or dark color is considered a contaminant. You must change the fluid before damaging the seals, hose, connectors, and steering gearbox once you notice such a discoloration.

Keeping your car’s power steering system well-oiled is essential for maintaining its wheels turning quickly. Therefore make sure you use the correct type of oil recommended by car manufacturers.

If you’re unsure what type of oil your car needs, consult your owner’s manual or take your car to a mechanic. They’ll be able to tell you what kind of oil your specific car needs and how much power steering fluid to put in it. This is something that is similar to mixing different brands of motor oil.


Can you mix synthetic and regular power steering fluid?

It is not the best practice to mix synthetic power steering fluids with regular power steering fluids. These two types of products are made of different base oils. Therefore mixing completely different base oil products causes many problems in your car.

Regular power steering fluids are made of petroleum as base oil and mix additive agents. Synthetic fluid is made of chemical compounds (synthetic-based oil/ non-mineral oil) with added additives. Therefore synthetic steering fluid and regular power steering oil have completely different base oil.

If you need to replace synthetic or regular steering fluids completely, flush the existing oil and use the new product.


Can you mix old and new power steering fluid?

Yes, if the old fluid is not contaminated or it is not time to change the fluid, the old power steering fluid can be mixed with the new one. Here both fresh and new fluids must be of the exact same type. The best practice during a car service is to use all fresh fluid.


Can you mix red and green power steering fluid?

No, you should not mix different color power steering fluids; mixing the red and green power steering fluids will damage your car’s system. Different colors mean different brands or types therefore, they may contain different additives or base oil. It can clog the steering system.

On the other hand, it is hard to identify the contaminants oils when mixing two different colors. The fluids have different properties essential for your car’s power steering smooth functioning.

So it is essential that you use the correct type of oil in your car and do not try to save money by mixing different types of oil, and it can cost you a lot more in the long run.


Can you use transmission fluid for power steering fluid?

The answer is Yes. We can use transmission fluid for power steering fluid, but it is not the best practice. Since these two fluids are hydraulic fluids, they are similar. However, it is not recommended to mix transmission fluid with power steering fluid.

The power steering fluid substitute is transmission fluid. Almost all parts are metal in the power steering system; therefore, they can heat more quickly. Before mixing, make sure that both fluids have similar viscosity characteristics.

Power steering fluids can reduce power steering noises and minimize rack and pinion stiffness capabilities.

In most cases, switching fluids is not recommended unless specified by your vehicle’s manufacturer. The close substitute for power steering fluid is automatic transmission fluid because it has more anti-wear, anti-oxidant, and defoamer additives. Different types of fluids have other properties that may or may not be compatible with one another. Using an incorrect fluid could potentially cause damage to your power steering system.

Transmission fluid is not typically used as a replacement for power steering fluid, as it does not offer the same benefits in this application. However, if your vehicle’s power steering fluid is over and you don’t have access to the proper fluid, it may be necessary to use transmission fluid as a temporary replacement. In general, it is best to switch fluids unless specifically directed to do so by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Different types of fluids have different properties that do not match or do not match each other.


What is power steering?

It’s an automotive system designed to help drivers steer their vehicles more efficiently by providing additional control over directional changes. A power steering pump is powered by a belt connected to the engine. When the engine runs, it gives hydraulic pressure, which assists in turning the wheels.


How does transmission fluid work in a power steering system?

In this case, the primary purpose of transmission fluid is to lubricate and cool the components as they move. It also helps to prevent seal leaks, anti-wear protection, corrosion protection on the system, and minimize squeal and clog.


Is power steering fluid the same as automatic transmission fluid?

Power steering fluid and automatic transmission flues (ATF) are not precisely the same, but generally, they are hydraulic fluids. There are a few differences between these two fluids. ATF is more advanced and contains valuable additives to enhance the system’s durability, like more anti-wear, heat transfer, and detergent additives.

However, modern power steering fluids also have additives like anti-wear protection that transfer heat to improve viscosity in high or low-temperature climates.

We don’t see any automatic transmission fluid manufacturers stating that we can use ATF for the power steering system.


What happens if you put the wrong power steering fluid?

When putting the wrong power steering fluid, it can damage in several ways. The wrong fluid will not properly lubricate the parts, and they will wear down faster and damage the power steering system. Furthermore, it can increase the temperature. These damages can lead to seals breaking and leaks developing.

If this happens, there is nothing that we can do to save the power steering pump from failing as it won’t work anymore.

In addition, if water gets into your power steering system, it will freeze in cold weather, leading to pump failure. So be very careful when adding power steering fluid to your car, and make sure you use the correct type.

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