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Power Steering Fluid Substitutes And Alternatives That You Can Use


Power steering fluid substitute

The fluid used in power steering is a thick reddish or brownish liquid. The majority of power steering fluids are silicone-based or mineral oil-based. Some people, however, utilize automatic transmission fluid (ATF). Synthetic base oil is used to make ATF. There are certain power steering fluid alternatives you can use in an emergency, at least until you can get your hands on the correct fluid for your automobile.

Every car owner understands how frustrating it is to run out of power steering fluid at the most inconvenient time. Every vehicle requires it, and it must be replenished anytime the level falls too low. The point is, what do you do when you’re confronted with a circumstance like this?

All you have to do now is figure out what a good power steering fluid substitute is for your vehicle.

Read also related articles: Too much Transmission Fluid is a Bad Idea, and How much refrigerant oil you should add.

What is a power steering fluid?

Power steering fluid is an important component that reduces friction and protects against corrosion. It keeps your vehicle’s power steering system lubricated and ensures that it performs properly.

Power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid that is usually silicone or mineral oil-based with additives; the fluid also contains vegetable oils. This type of hydraulic fluid is a critical component of your steering system that allows drivers to easily turn the steering wheel in modern automobiles with power steering.

Types of power steering fluid

Because vehicle applications vary, there are several distinct types of power steering fluid. There are two types of power steering fluids listed here:

Synthetic fluid is a wonderful choice for your car because it is smooth and flows well at low temperatures. It also improves lubrication, which decreases friction in the pump. Because of the system’s smooth operation, the steering parts last a long time.

Meanwhile, some power steering fluids are universal. And these fluids contain unique chemicals that give a variety of benefits, such as lowering steering system friction and stiffness, as well as improving the system’s responsiveness and performance. They also have qualities that help to seal minor leaks and prevent corrosion.

Best substitutes to power steering fluid

You would probably do more harm than good to your car if you used brake fluid or other types of oils that are unsuitable as a steering fluid alternative. Why? Because it is made up of different chemicals. Glycol-ether-based brake fluids are the most common today, but mineral oil and silicone-based fluids are also available.

Automatic transmission fluid is the most widely utilized power steering fluid alternative (ATF). Many manufacturers, in fact, employ ATF instead of power steering fluid.

It can be difficult to choose an appropriate automatic transmission fluid. The transmission can be damaged if the improper type is used. Because each automatic transmission fluid has its own viscosity, friction coefficient, and additives, they are all unique. They’re all made in compliance with recipes for base oils and additions by petroleum firms.


This is a greenish, greyish, or brownish colored transmission fluid. Originally, sperm whale oil was employed as a friction modifier in the Dexron fluid. Later on, the importation of sperm whale oil was prohibited, thus it had to be reformulated. It has a green, grey, or brown coloration, as opposed to ATF’s red and purple coloring.

Dexron transmission fluid currently comes in a variety of flavors: Dexron II, Dexron IID, and Dexron IIE, Dexron G, Dexron III G, Dexron III H, Dexron IV, and Dexron VI.


Mercon and Dexron were adopted as specifications for automatic transmissions by a number of automakers. They are interchangeable due to their similarities. There have been numerous variations of these two fluids as well. Mercon CJ, Mercon H, Mercon Ford, Mercon V, Mercon SP are all examples of this sort of fluid.

One typical issue is that oil suppliers began to suggest that these fluids could be used in a wide range of automobiles not built by Ford and General Motors. Multi-vehicle ATFs should be avoided at all costs.

Other types of ATF

  • Type A: Introduced in the 1950s, this transmission was utilized on all GM automatic transmissions. Until the mid-1960s, this fluid was in use.
  • Type F: This is a vintage fluid designed for Fords with bronze clutches. Only classic or antique autos would benefit from this fluid.
  • Fluids from HFM: In contrast to Dexron and Mercon, highly friction modified fluids have differing friction properties.


Power Steering Fluid

Is it possible to combine power steering fluid and transmission fluid?

Technically, there should be no conflict because they are both hydraulic fluids. However, because power steering and transmission fluids differ in several ways, combining them might cause damage to the steering wheel. Because PSF contains oil and ATF does not, the power steering pump may be damaged.

Can you use transmission fluid as a substitute to power steering fluid?

Yes, if your car model recommends ATF for power steering, you can use transmission oil like Dexron III, Marcon, type F as an alternative. However, you should only use ATF in place of power steering fluid in an emergency since ATF contains friction modifiers that are not present in steering fluid.

Is it possible to use motor oil instead of power steering fluid?

Yes, motor oil can be used, but only in small amounts, because motor oil has numerous hydraulic oil qualities and a higher viscosity, which can cause cavitation in the pump and poor steering assistance. However, utilizing a small amount will not harm power steering systems.

Is it possible to mix synthetic and conventional power steering fluid?

Synthetic and normal power steering fluid should not be mixed. But don’t worry if it gets mixed up; a small bit of Amsoil in some organic oil will help small engines last longer. If the only manufacturer recommends it, use the synthetic fluid as a power steering fluid.

Is hydraulic fluid safe to use for power steering?

Yes, hydraulic fluid can be used for power steering. Before using, make sure the fluid meets the car manufacturer’s specifications.

How long can one drive without power steering fluid?

You can only drive for a few minutes without power steering fluid because the pump may begin to fail after one or two minutes.

Is it possible to swap palm oil for power steering fluid?

Because palm oil exerts sufficient pressure on the steering wheel, you can use it if you become caught by ATF.

Final thoughts

You may be aware that your vehicle’s power steering fluid may run out at any time. Do you know what you’ll do if you find yourself in this situation, or do you have any suggestions for power steering fluid alternatives? If not, you’ll need to find a suitable solution for power steering fluid that will make your car ride more comfortable.

Engine oil, transmission oil, brake oil, power steering oil, and axle oil are all examples of power steering fluid replenishment. You can use them as a substitute, but be careful to choose the right one for your vehicle because the wrong one can do a lot of harm to the rubber seals, rubber parts, and plastic.

So, for your convenience, we’ve answered a few questions so you can pick the best power steering fluid substitute for your automobile and avoid being confused with alternatives.

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