Can I Use Brake Fluid in Power Steering? What Will Happen?

Brake Fluid in Power Steering

Well, if you add brake fluid accidently in power steering then what? Here, please meticulously consider the difference between two fluids. There is a brake fluid for brakes, and there is a fluid called automatic transmission fluid for power steering. Now, the question arises when you put brake fluid in power steering.

What happens to your car? Does it create a huge damage? Is it going to create trouble with power steering? Do you need to take it as a big deal? Does it demand a complete flushed out of fluid and refilled with the right one? Well, to get the answers to all the above-presented questions, just go through this article thoroughly.

Now, before getting into the real damage, learn about both the fluids.

What is Power Steering Fluid?

Power Steering Fluid:

  • It is a petroleum based fluid.
  • It provides pressure transfer medium.
  • It works as a lubricant between metal-on-metal contacts.
  • It is used for the dynamic steering. There is a pump on the primary side and the cylinder on the secondary side.

What is a Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid:

  • It is a glycol based fluid.
  • It helps to absorb moisture in the system.
  • It also dissipates heat.
  • It is not a good lubricant.
  • It is used for the static brakes. There is a cylinder on the primary side and another cylinder on the secondary side.

What is the Difference between the Two Fluids?

power steering fluid

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You can encounter nuance between the characteristics of both fluids. In earlier times when the technology was not evolved, it was okay to use brake fluid in the power steering. On the other side, when the technology is evolving, the fluids are improvising, and developers are creating it for a specific purpose.

Therefore, it is always advisable to use only power steering fluid for it, and brake oil for brakes as all the automobiles give an optimum performance by doing so. Sometimes, in some cases, if there are extreme situation then you can use brake fluids as power steering oil.

It is possible because both are hydraulic fluids. However, you may not use the power steering fluid in brakes as this system requires fluid that has a higher boiling point.

What should you do if you Add Brake Fluid in Power Steering?

  • First of all, understand the dilemma first. It is about using brake fluid in power steering and not about power steering oil in brakes. Now, why we are asking you to focus on it is because what happens when you do that is dangerous.
  • Petroleum oil can damage the seals used in the brakes. All the rubber seals can get swelled up due to it and create many issues. Moreover, brake fluid dissolves paint from the surface.
  • Coming back to the real question, as soon as you realize you have poured wrong fluid, try to flush everything out of the reservoir. It is easy to do if you have not started your car. Once you do that, it is very difficult to extract it as it is already mixed up to some extent.
  • With the use of turkey baster, you can simply remove the brake fluid from the reservoir. Another way is to detach the return line from the steering on the pump on the primary side.
  • You can keep that line in a bucket until the reservoir gets empty. Another thing you can do is to crank your car engine on a starter for a few seconds.
  • Now, as the pump is empty, you can reconnect the entire system and fill the reservoir with the correct fluid.
  • In the end, just run your car forth and back for twice or more so that all the air gets flushed out from the system.

What are the Consequences of Adding Up the Brake Fluid in Power Steering?

Following are the major effects that are seen if you add brake fluid in power steering; this may be intentional or unintentional:

power steering fluid

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  • It smells bad and the working of power steering is also affected.
  • It amplifies the swelled up effect in rubber seals and creates leaks in it.
  • It will be very costly if you do not take out the brake fluid out of your system soon.
  • Long term effects are pretty considerable even if right now your power steering does not seem to be affected too much.
  • Once it is circulated, it is very difficult to get it out of the system.

What Fluids should you use in your Car’s Power Steering?

The two major kinds of fluids that you should be using for your car’s power steering are:

Why is it Important to Use Power Steering Fluid or Automatic Transmission Fluid?

power steering fluid

Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DjUmy4prx4

In today’s world, there are heavy loaded vehicles on the roads. Such vehicles need a steering which can help to guide wheels smoothly. Moreover, with the advancement of the technology, car accessories are becoming more complicated. Like those complex systems, power steering systems have also become complex to service.

Therefore, people use power steering fluid or the other alternative known as pressure transmission fluid. It is used to alleviate corrosion, friction, resistance and wear in the power steering system. To understand its importance, it is essential to understand power steering system.

This system has a pump, which is simply powered by a car engine. This pump delivers the high-pressure power steering fluid to the steering gear. Now, when you turn your steering, this fluid assists wheels and makes it easier for the driver to turn the steering. Which kind of power steering fluid you should use totally depends on the material of your power steering system it is made of.

In a nutshell,

Regardless of what everyone says, you should immediately eject the brake fluid from power steering system. Though it may not be so dangerous or many not create a huge mess, it is always advisable to remove it out of the system.

After thoroughly going through information mentioned above, you are well aware of the facts. Now you know how you should tackle the situation if you make suck mistakes. Before deciding anything, consider all the consequences and take desirable steps to keep your car safe. Thank you!