There are a lot of car owners out there who are unaware that their power steering fluid is just as important as the engine oil in a car. Even though you don’t have to change the power steering fluid as regularly as you do your engine oil, it’s important to know when to change it and what type of fluid you should be using.
In this article, we are going to be discussing the different power steering fluids which vehicles use, how regularly the fluid should be changed, and a few other important points.
What Are The Different Types Of Power Steering Fluids?
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing which power steering fluid to use. Some vehicles use ATF transmission fluid while other vehicles (typically newer models) use a synthetic power steering fluid. There are benefits to using a synthetic fluid, such as that it flows better in lower temperatures however it is important to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendation for your vehicle.
While a lot of cars use a universal power steering fluid, there are some cars which must use a specific power steering fluid that contains particular additives. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to refer to the car’s owner manual.
How Often Should You Change Power Steering Fluid?
Unlike engine oil, your power steering fluid is used throughout a somewhat clean part of your engine, so it’s not necessary for you to change it so often.
It’s important to note that some manufacturers may not recommend a servicing period for the power steering fluid.
That being said over time the fluids particles will begin to be worn down by the steering pump and gears. In some cases, if there is an issue with your engine which causes excessively high temperatures, the fluid can begin to oxidise.
Even though this should be checked regularly it’s always a good idea for you to replace the power steering fluid about every 5 years or 100,000 km's, whichever comes first. This helps to prolong your power steering system’s life and could prevent an expensive repair in the future.
Can I Use Automatic Transmission Fluid In My Power Steering?
Power steering fluids and automatic transmission fluids are both types of hydraulic system fluids however can be quite different and are designed to do separate tasks, so it can be dangerous to use one in place of the other.
One of the main differences between them is that automatic transmission fluid fluids contain detergents and friction modifiers. These detergents may keep contaminants that work their way into the power steering system causing damage to the hydraulic valves which are part of the car’s steering rack. All in all, it’s never a good idea to go against what your user manual tells you to do.
What Power Steering Fluid Do I Need For My Car?
There are a few ways for you to find out what type of power steering fluid you should be using for your car. First, check the filler cap as it is common for manufacturers to specify which fluid should be used on there. If the type of power steering fluid isn’t specified on the cap then you will be able to find it inside of the vehicle’s owner manual.
It’s important that you use the correct power steering fluid as if you don’t, there may be compatibility issues with your car. It isn’t uncommon for power steering pump failure to come as a result of the wrong type of power steering fluid being used.
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