Running a car without power steering is unthinkable. But if you are low on steering fluid, what do you do? What can you use for power steering fluid instead? We discuss four easy-to-find options, and a lot of other things in the article below.
If you notice your steering wheel stuttering or making strange noises when there is a turn, the chances are that it is low on power steering fluid.
The power steering fluid is one of the major components of the steering wheel that keeps it running. Like any other fluid, the power steering lubricant starts to run low after a few miles and needs to be refilled.
But what would you do if you were in the middle of nowhere while enjoying your ride? You would then need the steering lubricant to keep the engine running smoothly. However, if you fall short of the fluid, some alternatives can help you for the time being.
In case you do not have a backup power steering fluid, there is a certain substitute that would help you keep the steering wheel running for a few more miles!
Now you must be wondering about the substitutes you can find between your ride. To begin with, engine oil can be used in place of power steering fluid, even though it has a higher viscosity than the latter.
Apart from engine oil, there are several alternatives for power steering fluid, and we have discussed the most recommended ones in this article. Check them out.
What Is Power Steering Fluid Make Of?
What is Power Steering Fluid?
To learn about power steering fluid, we will first have to know what a power steering is. Modern cars weigh about 4000 pounds on average. Now imagine trying to steer 4000 pounds of heavy metal with your bare hands. Doesn’t seem like a fun task, does it?
Thankfully, power steering to the rescue. Power steering is an ingenious way to multiply the (relatively) small force that you apply on your car’s steering wheel into something large enough to steer the car.
The power steering is of two types, that are, hydraulic and electric. Power steering fluid is needed in the hydraulic system.
The power steering fluid is the most crucial component of this process. When you turn your steering wheel, it compresses the hydraulic power steering fluid. This compressed fluid is able to multiply the force that you exert on the steering wheel and apply it on your wheels, thus steering your car.
In summary, power steering fluid does 3 things:
- It establishes a link between the steering and the front wheels.
- It reduces the effort that would otherwise be needed to turn the vehicle’s wheels.
- It prevents corrosion in the system’s moving parts through lubrication and thus keeps them moving smoothly.
What color is power steering fluid?
Power steering fluid is usually red, amber, pink, or clear in color. If it has turned dark brown and brothy, it is a sign that it needs to be changed.
You might like to read: Why Is My Power Steering Fluid Foamy
What is power steering fluid made of?
Power steering fluids are usually made from refined petroleum fractions and additives. However, different types of steering fluids are available in the market, so that the ingredients can vary.
For example, synthetic power steering is made from refined petroleum fractions and polyhydric alcohols. Now that you know the ingredients of power steering fluid, you can buy a replacement based on these ideas.
What can I substitute for power steering fluid?
You have just realized that there is no power steering fluid left in your vehicle, and you don’t have a backup for the same. Now, what? The good thing is that numerous substitutes can be used in place of power steering fluid.
Engine oil, transmission oil, hydraulic fluid, axle oil, etc., are some of the replacements or substitutes for power steering fluid. Let’s learn about what can you use for power steering fluid in detail.
You might like to read: What Color Is Power Steering Fluid Supposed To Be?
What Can I Use Instead of Power Steering Fluid? 4 Alternative and Easy To Find Replacements.
#1. Engine oil
Even though engine oil has a much higher viscosity than power steering fluid, you can still use it as a substitute for the latter. Engine oil has hydraulic properties, which makes it suitable to be used in place of power steering fluid but to make it stable, you should use it minimally.
#2. Hydraulic fluid
Hydraulic fluid, in general, is a good substitute for power steering fluid, but it is recommended to be used if the main lubricant is running low in the engine.
#3. Transmission oil
It would help if you remembered to use transmission oil in small amounts in place of power steering fluid, or it can cause considerable damage to the system. Dexron 3 or Type F are good substitutes for the fluid since they are hydraulic.
#4. Automatic transmission fluid
Perhaps the most popular alternative for power steering fluid has to be ATF. Many manufacturers suggest using ATF only, but you have to choose the one that suits your vehicle, or it can be damaging.
Each automatic transmission liquid carries its viscosity, friction coefficient, and additives; it is important to consult an expert in the field before you replace it with your vehicle’s power steering fluid.
You might like to read: Why Do I Get A Noisy Power Steering Pump When Cold?
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. What kind of power steering fluid for Cadillac Deville?
You can use any automatic transmission fluid for Cadillac Deville, and you can use any power steering fluid for the model if they are not labeled for Honda used. You can even use plain old power steering fluid for the model.
#2. What kind of power steering fluid for Chevy Blazer?
Prestone full-synthetic is the type of power steering fluid recommended for Chevy Blazer, which uses needs to be changed every 75,000 miles or more.
#3. What kind of power steering fluid for Chevy Silverado?
Chevy Silverado needs a full-synthetic power steering fluid. So, Prestone AS261 power steering fluid is quite a good option. Dexron 2 or 3 automatic transmission fluid is certainly the most recommended fluid for Chevy Silverado.
#4. What kind of power steering fluid for Mercedes?
Pentosin CHF 11S is Mercedes’ best and most recommended power steering fluid, and it is known to perform better and last longer than most fluids in Mercedes. It is synthetic-based hydraulic fluid and so works quite smoothly in keeping the components of the steering wheel moving.
#5. What kind of power steering fluid for VW Beetle?
Prestone, Pentosin- ATF-1 for ECCC exc. CVT and DCT, Shell -Advance Ultra 4T 10W-40 Synthetic Motorcycle Engine Oil, and Valvoline are some of the best power steering fluids for VW Beetle. When it comes to a model as precious as VW Beetle, it is recommended to only go for trusted brands.
You might like to read: What Happens When Power Steering Pump Goes Out?
A Few Final Words
Power steering liquid is extremely important to keep your vehicle running and functioning. If you are running low on power steering fluid, surely, you can use engine oil, transmission oil, and other alternatives in place of the fluid.
However, nothing works better than the original. Always check the steering wheel system and replace the fluid if it is running low. Thank you for reading the article, we hope you enjoyed the details that we shared. If you have more doubts, please write to us in the comments and we will try to get back to you as soon as we can.