What Happens If You Overfill Your Power Steering Fluid? 3 Things You Need To Take Care Of

Its easy to spill power steering fluid when you are filling up the tank. But what happens if you overfill your power steering fluid tank? Is it just going to cause a spill, or will there be some bigger damage? Let’s find out.

Overfilling power steering fluid is quite common in cars that use a hydraulic system. However, you should not take the problem of overfilling your power steering fluid lightly. 

Apart from causing a mess in the engine compartment, the spillage can also lead to rare but severe damage to your vehicle. 

There have been cases that have caused a lot of damage to the vehicle, including burning the power steering. The damage is usually caused by the excess fluid that gets spilled during the process.

If you are one of those people who treat their car like a baby, well, then even overfilling of power steering fluid in the reservoir will be a big deal. 

In this article, we will talk about all that can happen to your vehicle if there is an overfilled power steering fluid in the reservoir. Read on if you are a car owner or someone who has a deep interest in learning about automobiles. 


What Happens If You Overfill Your Power Steering Fluid


What Happens if You Overfill Your Power Steering Fluid? 3 Things That Can Happen

At first, nothing unusual will happen to your car if you overfill the power steering fluid. No intense damage is done if the power steering fluid is overfilled in the reservoir. However, the possibility of damage starts when you start the car, and the fluid expands due to overheating. 

Your Power Steering fluid can overheat and expand out of the pool, cause a mess in the engine compartment, and spill on other vehicle components. 


You might like to read: What Color Is Power Steering Fluid Supposed To Be?


#1. Cause a Mess In the Engine

When the overheated fluid expands, it spills over the entire engine compartment, and it may also leak to the belts and make the whole area slippery. 

When the fluid reaches the engine compartment, the mess has already been made, and the damage might be around the corner! 

Even though the damage isn’t usually a lot, it still can cause some problems in the system, such as taking extra space in the reservoir and making the belts slippery if it gets to them. Thus, it is advisable to avoid overfilling your power steering fluid so your car doesn’t suffer slight damage. 

#2. Break Your Steering Belt

The worst that can happen is that the fluid can also make its way to the belts and make them slippery, or sometimes destroy it. 

If the straps are destroyed, you should buckle yourself up because the new ones will cost you about a thousand bucks. We must also let you know that the insurance company will not cover the damage in this case. 


What Happens If You Overfill Your Power Steering Fluid


#3. Cause Fire In the Engine

If we talk about the extremes, overfilling of power steering fluid can also lead to rising smoke from the engine and fire outbreaks. So, it would help if you always were concerned about filling the fluid a bit below the FULL mark. 

Can Power Steering Fluid Burn?

The good news is that steering fluid is not a flammable liquid, so it will not turn your car into a house of flames but can surely burn the power steering. Power steering fluid has a relatively high flashpoint of 400 degrees F. Flammable fluids have a flashpoint of 100 F or lower.  

It would be best if you remembered that overfilling your power steering fluid will never cause overpressure or foaming in the equipment. Thus, the only thing that can happen is that your engine will become a sticky mess apart from the belt damage, whose repair will fall heavy on your wallet. 


You might like to read: Why Is My Power Steering Fluid Foamy


How Full Should the Power Steering Fluid Be?

Some cars use the hydraulic system, which needs power steering fluid to work. In other words, one has to make sure that the power steering fluid reservoir has enough juice in it for the engine to run smoothly and effectively.

The fluid should neither be overfilled nor underfilled, so it is essential to know how full the reservoir should be? 

The first thing to remember is that every car model is different. Each requires a certain amount of steering fluid in its reservoir. It can be challenging to have the exact measurement of the power steering fluid to be filled in the tank. 

However, in some models, the reservoir remains transparent, which allows the owner or driver to know the exact amount of fluid needed to run the engine. 

In the case of a metallic reservoir, you will find a dipstick with FULL and LOW marks to gauge the liquid. Make sure that the fluid reaches a little below the FULL mark so that the issue of leakage can be avoided. 


What Happens If You Overfill Your Power Steering Fluid


How Overheating Impacts Power Steering Fluid Volume

It is best if you know the exact measurement of the fluid needed to fill the reservoir. But there is one thing that should always remain at the back of your mind – the volume of the fluid will change the minute it starts heating. 

When it overheats, the fluid will start expanding, leading to spillage outside the reservoir. Thus, to be safe, you should avoid filling the pool till the neck, so the level doesn’t rise due to heating. 

Thus, the correct level of power steering fluid for your car would be one that doesn’t cause spillage in the other components due to expansion. 


You might like to read: Why Do I Get A Noisy Power Steering Pump When Cold?


How Do We Remove the Excess Power Steering Fluid From the Reservoir?

When you notice the fluid leaking from the reservoir, the easiest way to get rid of it is via turkey baster or syringe. It might seem a bit tedious but trust us when we tell you that it is better than the alternatives. 

The good thing about removing excess power steering from the reservoir is that you will know the exact measurement of the fluid that should be filled in the tank. You must, however, remember to touch the liquid only when it is cold and not overheated, or it may burn your fingers. 

Once the excess oil has been removed and it’s time to refill the tank, you should use a funnel to do the job since it will avoid spilling or overfilling the reservoir. 


What Happens If You Overfill Your Power Steering Fluid


A Few Final Words

Even though the overfilling of the power steering fluid does not cause any significant damage, it should be avoided. If nothing else, it can mess up the engine compartment of your vehicle, which may or may not cause complications in the future. 

Thank you for reading the article, we hope that you found the ideas presented here useful. If you have any more doubts, you can reach out to us in the comments box and we will get back to you with the answers as soon as possible.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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