Each type of fluid used in your car is made for a certain function. But the question is: can you use brake fluid for power steering fluid? Well, while brake and power steering fluids are both hydraulic fluids, their chemical compositions are highly different.
Since they can damage the master cylinder, power steering pump, and other expensive components, you cannot use the two fluids interchangeably. However, in this article, you’ll get to know why you should not use brake fluid as power steering fluid. You’ll also learn how they work, their difference, and the alternatives of brake fluid and power steering fluid.
Read more: Understanding automotive braking system
Okay, let’s get to it.
What are brake fluid and power steering fluid?
Brake Fluid: The pressure from the brake pads being applied to the rotors is aided by this fluid. In doing so, the car will come to a complete stop when you press the brake pedal. Most brake fluids are glycol-based. It absorbs moisture to ward off corrosion while also providing some lubrication.
Power steering fluid: This fluid aids in applying the hydraulic piston’s required pressure, enabling your car to easily turn the wheels. Power steering fluid is petroleum-based. It serves as a lubricant between the metal components and is also necessary for pressure transfer.
Read more: Understanding fluid mechanics
How do the brake and power steering fluids work?
To stop a car, the brake fluid converts the force of the depressed brake pedal into pressure and transmits this pressure to the front and rear brakes. Brake fluid is ideal for use in hydraulic braking systems since it cannot be compressed.
The steering wheel may be turned with less effort because of the pressurized fluid. Additionally, it guarantees that the hoses, pistons, valves, and power steering pump function as intended and lubricates the system’s moving parts.
Can you use brake fluid as power steering fluid?
No, brake fluid and power steering fluid shouldn’t be used interchangeably because they serve different purposes. You run the risk of causing the vehicle severe damage if you inadvertently put brake fluid into the power steering system or the other way around.
However, these two items should only be used within their respective systems. To avoid damage or accidents, you should drain the system and refill it with the appropriate fluid if you inadvertently put brake fluid in the reservoir of power steering fluid or vice versa.
Read more: How to Unlock Steering Wheel Without Key
What are the differences between brake fluid and power steering fluid?
Here are the visible differences between brake fluid and power steering fluid:
Brake fluid is mostly glycol-based. while petroleum fluid, on the other hand, is petroleum-based. You should know that while gasoline is also petroleum-based, their compositions aren’t the same.
Essentially, brake fluid is a non-lubricating fluid. When utilized in a power steering system, crucial components won’t be given the proper protection, leading to damage.
Your vehicle’s dynamic steering system requires power steering fluid. The power steering fluid will cause damage to the rubber parts if it is utilized in the braking system.
Despite having some advantages, brake fluid isn’t needed for lubricating parts in the same way as power steering fluid. It mostly absorbs moisture to stop corrosion from happening. While maintaining the same viscosity, it also releases heat. The brakes won’t fail on you or become spongy due to the high boiling point.
In addition to acting as a pressure transfer medium, the power steering fluid also serves as a lubricant for metal-to-metal parts. For dependable performance, this fluid absorbs heat while maintaining the same viscosity.
Watch the video below to learn more about the differences between brake fluid and power steering fluid and why you should not use them for each other:
What can you use as a power steering fluid alternative?
Because the composition of automatic transmission fluid and power steering fluid is often very similar, several manufacturers advise utilizing both fluids for the same purpose.
However, power steering fluid is used far less frequently in automobiles than transmission fluid; hence, manufacturers will design distinct packaging and advertise the fluid at a different price.
To determine if you are being duped or not, you must consult the owner’s manual and learn precisely what kind of fluid your steering system requires.
Why should you not use brake fluid for power steering fluid?
Here are a few reasons why you should not utilize brake fluid for power steering fluid:
- The rubber seals could swell as a result, resulting in leaks.
- Your steering can also be seriously affected, and it may smell bad.
- It is very difficult to evacuate brake fluid from a system after it has circulated inside.
- Failure to evacuate the brake fluid from the system will cause irreparable damage, increasing the cost of repair. Replacing the power steering pump could cost $300 to $800.
- Your power steering system might degrade over time even though everything appears to be in working order.
What can you do if the brake fluid is used as power steering fluid?
Get help from a qualified mechanic if you don’t want to work on your own vehicle or if you are concerned about draining this system correctly. You cannot, however, drive it to the shop.
The vehicle would need to be towed to the location. A professional flush can be performed by a mechanic to make sure there is no fluid left in the system.
Here’s what to do if you inadvertently use brake fluid for power steering fluid:
- Do not start the car or operate the brakes. In order to avoid damage, it’s important to stop the flow of brake fluid through the power steering system.
- All of the brake fluid poured in will remain in the reservoir without starting the car.
- To access the power steering fluid, open the reservoir.
- Start draining the liquid from the container with a baster. A suitable container must be used for collecting it.
- The front of the car should be jacked up. It must be supported by jack stands.
- Turn the steering wheel in either direction. You should see more liquid entering the reservoir.
- Continue draining the fluid that appears with the turkey baster.
- You can also completely empty the system to be on the safe side. Remove the low-pressure line from the system. Drain the fluid into an appropriate container.
- In order to flush out more fluid, keep turning the wheel.
- Add new power steering fluid and drain the old one out as well. This procedure aids in flushing out any residues from the system. To be certain, you can repeat this step more than once.
- Put the system back together.
- Gently lower the car back to the ground.
- Then put the appropriate kind of fluid in the power steering system.
Is it OK to put brake fluid in the power steering?
Brake fluid would damage both the pump and rack because the fluids are incompatible. Drain the reservoir by taking out one of the lines from the bottom if you haven’t even started the car or driven it yet.
What can I substitute for power steering fluid?
You can use automatic transmission fluid (ATF) to top up low levels of power steering fluid in your vehicle, but in most cases, this should only be a temporary fix. Your power steering system and transmission are both hydraulic, which is why the two fluids can be used interchangeably in some situations.
Can you use DOT 3 brake fluid for power steering fluid?
Can power steering fluid be substituted with brake fluid? The power steering pump cannot be used with brake fluid. The power steering pump will be damaged by brake fluid. Don’t put brake fluid in your power steering pump because it cost a lot of money.
Can you use brake fluid for power steering fluid in a pinch?
Brake fluid cannot work as power steering fluid. Power steering fluid cannot be used as brake fluid. In fact, mixing them up will almost always result in a crash. You will certainly do harm to your car.
What happens if you put antifreeze in the power steering fluid?
Antifreeze can damage the power steering pump or steering assembly by causing the oil to turn milky.
What oil can you use for power steering fluid?
The fluid used inside an automatic transmission is known as automatic transmission fluid (ATF). Additionally, some power steering systems can use ATF. Dexron and Mercon are two different kinds of ATF.
Can I use cooking oil for the power steering fluid?
The majority of power steering systems utilize a fluid that is sometimes identical to or similar to Dexron (R) type fluids. Even though using motor oil is not recommended, most systems won’t be harmed by a tiny amount of it because the two substances are chemically similar.
Can boiling brake fluid be compressed?
A vapor-like steam may be compressed, whereas a liquid (like brake fluid) cannot. A soft or spongy pedal is a sign of boiling brake fluid, which is a sign of reduced hydraulic pressure brought on by the brake system’s compressibility.
Can DOT 4 be used as power steering fluid?
In general, ATF can be used in power steering pumps. Hydraulic fluids include both power steering fluid and automatic transmission fluid. Your hydraulic power steering system is a system.
Can transmission fluid be used in place of power steering fluid?
You can, indeed. If you run out of power steering fluid, you can use ATF, or automatic transmission fluid, in your power steering pump. Your power steering system is a hydraulic system, much like your transmission system, and your ATF and power steering fluid are both hydraulic fluids.
In conclusion, even though they both play vital roles in a car’s hydraulic systems, brake fluid, and power steering fluid are not interchangeable. Trying to utilize brake fluid in place of power steering fluid might seriously affect your car’s performance and safety. To maintain the proper operation of your brakes and power steering, as well as to guarantee the safety and dependability of your vehicle, it is essential to use the manufacturer-recommended fluids for each system. If you have any questions regarding the fluids you ought to use, always study your owner’s manual and get expert guidance.
That is all for this article, where we’ve discussed why you should not use brake fluid as power steering fluid and their best alternative. I hope it was helpful, if so, kindly share with others thanks for reading see you around!