Power Steering Fluid Vs Transmission Fluid: Which One To Use?

Having a car means a much responsibility. It serves you fine when you maintain it properly. You have to remember a lot of things, such as the different belts and fluids.

To keep your car in good shape, you should cleanse and refill it on a regular basis. Your best bet is using power steering or transmission fluid for this. And getting confused between them is nothing unnatural.

So, which is better, power steering fluid vs transmission fluid?

Transmission fluid has a better composition than power steering fluid. In addition, it has a purpose more specific than power steering fluid. However, power steering fluid has a better smell and color than transmission fluid.

Curious to know the details about these two fluids? Well, head over to our article for a detailed version of what you just read now!

Power Steering Fluid vs Transmission Fluid: The Basic Comparison

Deciding between power steering fluid and transmission fluid is not quite easy. You need to have a deeper understanding of how these work and their features. And for starters, knowing the basics is the way to go. 

We have curated a basic comparison between these two for you to grasp the gist. So get going-

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Power Steering vs Transmission Fluid: Detailed Comparison

You must’ve had a clear idea coming across a brief. But that certainly doesn’t clear out your whole dilemma and we know that. Hence we’ve created this section for you!

You’ll find a detailed comparison between each feature of transmission fluid and power steering fluid. This would indubitably assist you with your decision!

Composition of the Fluids

Is it better to use power steering or transmission fluid? Let’s dig to get the answer from their compositions.

Detergents and friction modifiers are found in transmission fluid. The detergents, on the other hand, work to keep grease and debris out of the power steering system. Moreover, it can most likely spoil the hydraulic valves in the steering rack. Friction modifiers regulate the amount of heat that builds up in the valves and pump.

A mineral lubricating oil makes up at least 92 percent of the power steering fluid. It also contains 0.5 to 1% of an oil-soluble hydroxystearic acid Estolide.

Winner: In terms of composition, transmission fluid leads the way. Because it works better in terms of clearing out any grease.

Major Purpose of the Fluids

Cleaning and friction are the main uses of transmission fluid.

Power steering fluid usually lubricates the steering system. So it aids in the reduction of friction between the sections of the power steering system. Excessive temperature build-up is also minimized with power steering fluid.

The steering pump and gear unit are lubricated by this fluid. It also exerts hydraulic pressure on the system’s components.

Winner: When you think of the purpose, both are similar. But if we were to pick one, transmission fluid is the one. Because it causes less friction, leaving the engine to be less hot. So, now you know if you can use transmission fluid instead of power steering fluid!

Smell And Color of the Fluid

The transmission fluid is a bright crimson color with a distinct sweet odor. As it progresses through the tranny, it becomes darker, possibly orange.

The hue of the power steering fluid is clear, pinkish, or amber. It has a toasted marshmallow aroma. With time, it may turn red or brown.

Winner: In terms of smell and color, the power steering fluid is a step ahead. Because it has comparatively a lighter color which is good for the engine.

Can I Use Transmission Fluid Instead of Power Steering Fluid?

Yes, surprisingly it is possible and you can undoubtedly use transmission fluid instead of power steering fluid. But you do need to check with the manufacturer’s recommendation. However, it can only be used in an emergency. Friction modifiers are included in transmission fluids. As a result, using it as a substitute may cause damage.

Can I Mix Power Steering Fluid With Transmission Fluid?

Mixing these two isn’t supposed to create issues given that they’re both hydraulic fluids. The issue occurs, nonetheless, when unique specifications must be accomplished due to the presence of various materials in the mechanism. 

Because power steering fluid contains oil and transmission fluid doesn’t, if the two are utilized in machines with rubber gaskets, leakage could emerge. Looking at the whole picture, transmission fluid is more likely to cause a problem. So it’s best if you don’t mix these goods unless it’s by mistake.


Question: Can transmission fluid put any effect on power steering?

Answer: The power steering system has nothing to do with your transmission. Neither of them would have any influence or causation on the other. The hydraulic pressure in the system will decline due to a shortage of fluid. When you turn the wheel, you may notice that the steering becomes a little stiffer.

Question: Is it okay to use brake fluid for power steering?

Answer: Brake fluid along with power steering fluid has been developed and improved over time. They are not interchangeable and are designed to fulfill quite different tasks within automobiles. 

Question: Does low power steering fluid affect the car while driving?

Answer: Driving your automobile without power steering fluid for too long can cause the pump to break down. If you have a power steering fluid leak, there’s nothing physically stopping you from driving your automobile. However, if the level falls below a certain point, your pump will become inoperable. This increases friction and heat, which can quickly result in costly damage.

Question: Does power steering have any impact if I use engine oil in it?

Answer: Well, it does not have any impact up to a certain extent. Power steering fluid is less corrosive than motor or engine oil. A small amount of engine oil will not harm the seals. However, having a greater quantity in your system, your pump would burn out at a point. So, it’s actually better not to use engine oil in power steering.

The Final Words

Now you know which one is better between power steering fluid vs transmission fluid! We believe the article is enough to clarify your confusion and concern.

We hope it was a worthwhile reading!

All the very best to you!

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