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Can You Use Brake Fluid For Power Steering Fluid?

Subject: Can you use brake fluid for power steering fluid?

I recently encountered an issue with my vehicle’s power steering system, which was emitting a grinding noise. Upon inspection, I discovered the fluid levels were lower than ideal. In an effort to address this matter promptly, I visited a nearby store to purchase the requisite fluid. Unfortunately, due to a lapse in attention, I mistakenly selected and added brake fluid into the power steering reservoir.

This action was done in the store’s parking area, following which the initial grinding sound appeared to cease.

Upon returning home, I realized the inadvertent error in my selection of fluid. I am reaching out to seek guidance on the severity of this mistake and the necessary corrective measures. The quantity of incorrect fluid introduced into the system was minimal.

I would be grateful for any advice on whether extensive purging is required and the urgency of such maintenance. Additionally, I am interested in understanding the potential impact this may have on the vehicle’s functioning.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and expertise.

Can You Use Brake Fluid For Power Steering Fluid 2

Can You Use Brake Fluid For Power Steering Fluid?

Absolutely not, it’s essential to recognize that brake fluid and power steering fluid serve distinct purposes in a vehicle and should not be used as substitutes for one another. Therefore, they shouldn’t be used interchangeably, or else they will result in car damage.

Brake fluid is formulated for the braking system and plays a vital role in enabling correct brake function. It delivers hydraulic pressure to the brake calipers, which is fundamental for stopping your vehicle safely and efficiently.

Power steering fluid is designed to lubricate the components of the system and facilitate the transfer of pressure from the hydraulic piston to the wheels, ensuring smooth steering operations.

What are the consequences of putting power steering fluid in your brake fluid?

If you mistakenly add power steering fluid to the brake fluid reservoir, it can cause significant harm to your braking system. The reason behind this is the contaminants present in the power steering fluid, which lead to the swelling of the system’s seals. As these seals expand, they can obstruct the brake lines.

Consider the master cylinder’s return ports as an example. The expansion of the seals causes these ports to become blocked, preventing the brake fluid from flowing back into the reservoir when the brake pedal is released.

Brake fluid tends to expand when it heats up from the friction of braking. If this expanded fluid cannot return to the reservoir, it may result in the brakes engaging unintentionally and the wheels locking up. One of the early warning signs of this issue is experiencing a spongy feeling when pressing the brake pedal. Ultimately, the presence of power steering fluid contaminants can completely degrade the rubber components of the braking system, leading to total failure.

Timothy Ballard

I’m Timothy Ballard, owner of a used car dealership in Springfield. I love just about everything automotive, but I have a special place in my heart for trucks. I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, so I know my way around a car. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking new trails.

1 thought on “Can You Use Brake Fluid For Power Steering Fluid?”

  1. There are different types of fluids used in vehicles for steering and braking systems. While some vehicles use the same fluid for both, such as the one I drove today, most cars utilize a polyethylene glycol-based fluid for brakes and a mineral oil for steering. It’s worth noting that polyethylene glycol systems employ EPDM rubber, whereas mineral oil systems make use of NBR rubber. Therefore, it’s crucial to only use the approved fluid type recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, as using the wrong fluid can result in the dissolution of seals and rubber hoses.

    It’s important to exercise caution when it comes to brakes and brake fluid. Although using the wrong fluid in most systems may not cause immediate harm, brakes and their fluid are unique cases. It’s vital to never mix brake fluid with other fluids or use it inappropriately.


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