What color should power steering fluid be? Read on to know more about the different colors of power steering fluid.
Your vehicle uses power steering fluid so that the steering works smoothly. If you wonder what color indicates power steering fluid is working fine, the following sections will be quite helpful.
Does the Color of Power Steering Fluid Matter?
Power steering fluid is present in most modern automobiles that use hydraulic power steering instead of electric power steering. The fluid is added to ensure the proper functioning of the steering.
The color of the power steering fluid is essential because it indicates whether the fluid is working correctly or not. Power steering fluid is supposed to be clear, red, or pink.
But it can even turn brown or black. Some power steering fluids may also appear green. You should know the exact color of the fluid and what it means if that color changes.
What color is power steering fluid when it leaks?
The color of the power steering fluid is essential to understand if it is leaking or needs to be flushed out. If you know the original color of the fluid, you will understand if it is leaking immediately.
The color does not change if there is a leak, so it can be clear, red, or pink. If the power steering fluid is dyed a bright color, it is easier to detect the leak. The color may change before or when the leak occurs. In that case, you will have to change the fluid and repair the leak.
The color of the power steering fluid only changes when the chemical composition of the fluid is modified. The color change might happen due to contaminants or heat. You should keep an eye on the color and flush out the fluid when required.
What Colors Can Power Steering Fluid Be?
The power steering fluid can be of different colors. If you want to understand the specific colors of fluid and what each color means, please keep reading.
Red, Pink, or Clear Power Steering Fluid
When you check the fluid, note the shade of the color. Usually, the color of the power steering fluid is red. It can be pink or clear as well.
Power steering fluids are dyed so that they are easily distinguishable. The original red, pink or clear tone of the fluid means it is in perfect condition, and you don’t need to change it.
What color is power steering fluid leak if the fluid is still new?
It will be the original color. If the fluid is red or pink, you will detect the leak immediately. Few vehicles have clear power steering fluid as it is not that noticeable.
Milky or Foamy Power Steering Fluid
If the original color of the fluid appears milky, or the fluid itself seems foamy, it means that there are air bubbles trapped in it. Water may also have entered. You should immediately flush out the fluid and fill the reservoir with new fluid.
If you leave the milky or foamy fluid inside your power steering, it can damage the steering pump or gearbox. You will notice that the steering is making a loud noise while turning to the left or right, especially if you have a pick-up truck or a similar heavy vehicle.
If you hear such a sound, check the color of the steering fluid and immediately change it.
Yellow Power Steering Fluid
The power steering fluid is usually not contaminated by any other fluids in the system. But it can come into contact with coolant, and when that happens, the original red, pink or clear fluid changes to yellow.
Yellow power steering fluid is not very common, but it can happen. If you notice that the power steering fluid is yellowish, flush it out and fill new fluid. You should also check for leaks.
Brown or Black Power Steering Fluid
If you find that the color of the power steering fluid is brown or almost black, immediately change it. Such a dark color means it is saturated with contaminants. The black color of the power steering fluid indicates that the fluid is no longer able to function correctly and needs to be replaced.
The strength of the fluid has lessened, and it has stopped working. Even if the fluid only appears tan or a lighter shade of brown, it is wise to have it changed.
Don’t wait for the power steering fluid to turn dark brown or black, as by then, several parts of the system might be damaged.
What Does It Mean If Your Power Steering Fluid Is Brown?
Why is my power steering fluid brown? You might have this question if you haven’t changed the power steering fluid in a while. If the fluid reservoir fails and the seals are broken, the power steering fluid will leak. The fluid will turn a murky brown color.
You might even notice amber-colored fluid underneath your vehicle. When the fluid turns a shade of brown, the smell also changes. It has a distinct smell of burnt marshmallows. It would be best if you immediately changed the fluid.
How Does Power Steering Liquid Color Change?
The change from the original red, pink or clear fluid to brown fluid doesn’t happen overnight. It is a gradual process. It is quite natural for the fluid to turn brown over time. If you flush it out and fill up new fluid, your system will work well.
However, the brown color may also be due to contaminants. It usually happens when the power steering fluid comes into contact with the rubber seals or the pipe system. The pipe system and the seals will start to degrade, increasing contaminants in the fluid.
The Shade Of Brown Color Also Matters
The shade of brown is essential. If you have a fluid reservoir that is deep with clear or reddish fluid, it might appear slightly murky. Reddish pink fluid can appear light brown in such reservoirs. To understand if the fluid needs changing, stick a rod into the reservoir.
Make sure that the rod is clean to avoid contamination. If you can see the rod several inches deep, you don’t need to change the fluid. However, if you can’t see, the fluid must be a darker brown and, thus, needs to be flushed out.
How Do You Know if Your Power Steering Fluid Is Bad?
Sometimes, the color of the power steering fluid depends on the model or brand of the vehicle. For example, what color is Honda power steering fluid? It is reddish-pink instead of clear. But it can also be a brighter shade of red.
You should always note the original color of the power steering fluid. If the original color changes, it means that the fluid is going bad. Now, it might happen for many reasons, as discussed before.
But any variation of the actual color means that you will have to flush the fluid out and fill the system with new fluid. If you want to know when the fluid has gone completely bad, you will have to wait till it turns black.
The black color of the fluid means that it cannot be used anymore and will do more harm to the system than good.
Power Steering Fluid Should Be Clear, Red, Or Pink In Color
You’ve come to the end of this article. Use the information as a guide to understand what the different colors of the power steering fluid means. Share the details with others, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!