Figuring out which power steering fluid your vehicle needs can be as easy as checking in the owner’s manual or as difficult as trying to guess based on what the fluid in your power steering fluid reservoir looks and smells like. If you’re asking “which power steering fluid for my car?” then you’re probably in the latter group that either can’t find the information in their owner’s manual or never got an owner’s manual with their car.
Before checking on which power steering fluid your car needs, we recommend making sure your car actually has a hydraulic power steering system. If your vehicle was manufactured in the 80s, 90s or early 2000s, then the chances are that is exactly what you have. However, it can be worth checking what sort of steering system our car has just to make sure. Late model vehicles often came with a completely manual power steering system due to the smaller tires installed on older cars. On the other end of the spectrum, more car companies are transitioning to electric power assist steering systems on their new model vehicles to help improve fuel mileage in their vehicles by removing the parasitic drag of the hydraulic pump on the motor.
How do I know what type of power steering fluid to use?
The best way to check what type of steering your vehicle has is to check under the hood and find the power steering fluid reservoir. Any hydraulic power steering system will have a reservoir to hold power steering fluid for the pump to draw from. The reservoir is usually clear, black or white plastic with an identifying cap. If you can’t find the reservoir, find you power steering pump then follow the low pressure (larger rubber) line from the pump up to the reservoir.
Installing the correct type of power steering fluid in your power steering system is essential to long life and quiet operation. The power steering fluid is pressurized by the power steering pump, then that pressure is what is used to assist the driver in turning the wheels of the vehicle. However, your power steering fluid is just there to add force to turning your wheel. Your power steering fluid also lubricates the system and prevents corrosion of the metal components as well as the rubber seals. If the incorrect power steering fluid is used it could be too thin or too thick to provide proper lubrication which could lead to premature wear, or it could be missing the correct additives to prevent corrosion or wear in the system again leading to premature wear and often times, fluid leaks.
Power steering fluid or automatic transmission fluid?
To make things more complicated, some power steering system require power steering fluid, while others have been designed to use automatic transmission fluid of which there is over a dozen to choose from. If you’ve checked your vehicle’s owner’s manual and looked on the power steering fluid reservoir cap for direction as to which kind of fluid to use and still come up empty, we recommend you check this power steering fluid application chart to see if your vehicle is listed. If all else fails, you can try calling your local dealership to see if they can steer you in the right direction.
While you’re topping off your power steering system with the correct type of fluid, you should consider why the fluid level is low in the first place. In almost all case, a low power steering fluid level is due to a fluid leak. Rather than spending time and money hunting down the leak, you should consider adding BlueDevil Power Steering Stop leak along with your top off fluid. BlueDevil Power Steering Stop leak is compatible with all types of power steering fluid and will seal the leak in your system so you don’t have to continue to add fluid.
For more information about BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak, click on the banner below!
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