Can I Use Motor Oil For Power Steering Fluid?

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Motor oils and power steering fluids are similar lubricants used on motor vehicles. When running out of power steering fluids, you may think can I use motor oils for power steering fluid?

Even though these two fluids have a similar appearance, they are not identical. Therefore you have to know these two fluids’ characteristics before use.

This article describes the difference between motor oils and power steering fluids. And can you use motor oil for power steering fluid?

Motor Oil for power steering fluid.
Motor Oil for power steering fluid.

What Is Motor Oil?

Motor oil lubricates moving metal parts in the internal combustion engine. This lubricant helps reduce friction, remove deposits, cool the engine parts, prevent corrosion, and maintain its performance. This lubricant helps to keep an engine running smoothly and efficiently—different lubricant manufacturer mix base oil and various additives to enhance the performance. Typically we can find 10% to 30% performance-enhancing additives like antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors, detergents and dispense, anti-wear, anti-foam, alkalinity improvers, and viscosity improvers mixed in motor oil.

Motor oil is typically made from crude or synthetic oils and can be categorized as mono-grade and multigrade. The multigrade oils can withstand significantly lower and higher temperatures than the single grade. Therefore most modern engines use multigrade, and smaller engines use mono-grades. The Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) grades motor oils based on viscosity. There are several motor oil classifications, like SAE and API.


What Is a Power Steering Fluid?

The power steering fluid is used in vehicles with hydraulic power steering systems. It is a hydraulic oil used to transfer hydraulic power from the steering wheel to the front axle and lubricate the moving parts of the power steering system, which helps make it easier to turn the steering wheel. Over time, the power steering fluid can become dirty or contaminated, so it should be checked regularly and replaced as needed to ensure the proper functioning of the power steering system.


Can I Use Motor Oil For Power Steering Fluid?

No. You cannot use motor oils for power steering fluids. Putting motor oil in a power steering pump can cause several problems because these are different types of oils used for various purposes and are not interchangeable. The power steering system contains many rubber horses and sealers, and some motor oil additives may not be compatible.

Using motor oil in place of power steering fluid can cause damage to your power steering system and may result in a costly repair. Using the correct fluid for your vehicle’s power steering system is essential to ensure that it functions properly and lasts as long as possible.

The best power steering fluid alternative is automatic transmission fluid (ATF). These are two similar hydraulic fluids, and they are the best substitute for power steering fluid. That is why we also do not recommend motor oils for transmission systems.


What Is The Difference Between Power Steering Fluids And Engine oil?

We can summarize the difference between power steering fluids and engine oil as follows,

  • The power steering fluid is hydraulic fluid, and the motor oil is a lubricant.
  • Power steering fluids can withstand high pressure, and motor oils are used to reduce friction and wear on the engine’s moving parts.
  • Power steering fluid helps to steer the vehicle, and motor oil lubricates the engine moving parts.
  • Power steering fluid contains extreme pressure additives, but motor oils don’t.


It’s important not to mix the two fluids, as doing so can cause damage to the vehicle.


Can I Use 15W40 For Power Steering Fluid?

No. You cannot use SAE 15W40 for power steering fluid (PS fluid). Motor oils and PS fluids are different types of oil used for various purposes. Using 15W40 motor oils for the power steering system can cause unusual sounds and increase wearing, not properly steering. Therefore if you mix or use motor oils for power steering, flush out the power steering fluid reservoir and refill the ATF or OME-recommended fluids.



We do not recommend putting motor oil for power steering. These two oils are used for different purposes, and they contain different types of additives. Therefore motor oil is not compatible with the power steering system.

If you accidentally put motor oils in the power steering oil reservoir, you should not worry. However, if you mix a considerable amount, it is recommended to flush the system and refill the Automatic transmission fluids or your vehicle manufacturer-recommended oil.

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