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Can You Mix Power Steering Fluid?

It's safe to assume that, like the vast majority of drivers, you don't give your car's power steering fluid much thought until something goes wrong. And there is a possibility that you have no idea how to fix it if it breaks down. So, the initial question is whether or not you can mix power steering fluid with other types of it. We thoroughly researched the internet about this matter.

You can mix and match brands and types if the power steering fluids meet the same standards or characteristics. However, it would still be best to utilize the same fluid you use with your car to avoid any issues or damage.

The good news is that we have everything you need to know about power steering fluid in this article, from its definition to its proper preparation. And without further ado, let's delve into the details!

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A male hand filling car power steering fluid, Can You Mix Power Steering Fluid?

Should You Mix Power Steering Fluid?

As mentioned, we suggest not mixing power steering fluids. Although it is okay to combine them, we think that avoiding it would be best, since you can also prevent any potential issues for your car.

If your power steering fluid needs replenishing, you must ensure to apply just the right amount. Foaming and air bubbles can occur if you utilize too much fluid. Such a thing can produce unwanted sounds, and worse, it can lower system efficiency. It will compromise steering without sufficient fluid.

Close up of a cap of a power steering oil tank

Utilizing the correct power steering fluid for your vehicle is also crucial. The type of fluid you need for your vehicle will vary depending on its make and model. We cannot use any type of power steering fluids in any system.

If you are unsure about what power steering fluid to incorporate into your vehicle, there are two options you can take. You can review the owner's manual or consult a mechanic.

How Does Power Steering Operate

Vehicles with power steering utilize hydraulic fluid pressure to aid the driver in turning the wheel. The pump generates the tension, and hoses transmit the power steering liquid to the steering gear.

In most cases, a belt from the engine operates the pump. A steering gear contains a piston that amplifies the pressure applied to the wheel, and this makes the steering more manageable. 

When the vehicle's turning radius is tight and the rolling resistance of the tires is high, power steering systems help significantly. They can allow it to be effortless to steer at low speeds. They also aid in keeping drivers fresh during extended drives.

How Exactly Does Power Steering Function?

When you drive and rotate the steering wheel, it also rotates a shaft. This shaft reaches into the steering gearbox. A gearbox possesses a piston connecting the shaft. And in the piston's middle is a hole closing off as the piston stirs.

Hydraulic fluid under pressure continuously pumps into this port from the power steering pump. When the aperture size reduces, the fluid pressure required to force its way through increases, providing that extra push for better control.

Rotating the wheel into its straight-ahead position enlarges the piston's opening, allowing more fluid to flow back out with less effort.

Additionally, you may also encounter that steering the wheels seem heavier than normal in chilly conditions. The reason is when the ambient temperature rises, the viscosity of the hydraulic fluid increases. A thick hydraulic fluid makes it more of a challenge to move through the system.

Driving with power steering is less taxing since it reduces driver fatigue. Maintaining a healthy power steering system requires routine fluid level inspections and servicing per the manufacturer's guidelines.

How Often To Change Power Steering Fluid

Mechanic holding a syringe replacing the fluid in the car's power steering system

Some automakers don't advocate changing the power steering fluid until you rack up 50,000 miles, but most do.

A more frequent oil change may be necessary if you often drive in heavy traffic, go through rough terrains, such as mountains, or tow a trailer. Also, if the steering feels spongy or you notice some noise like grinding or whining when rotating, you may want to consider replacing it sooner rather than later.

As part of preventative maintenance, some repair shops drain power steering fluid. The purpose of flushing is to eliminate the old fluid and supersede it with a fresh one. It is typically not essential unless you are experiencing steering issues or switching sorts of fluid.

How To Drain Power Steering Liquid

Mechanic opening brake fluid cap for car maintenance

It's not too challenging to flush the power steering fluid in your automobile if you notice steering issues or if your mechanic recommends it.

To do this procedure, you will need to prepare a catch basin, rags, and approximately two quarts of power steering fluid. If your power steering reservoir doesn't possess a drain pin, you will also have to prepare a syringe or turkey baster.

Step 1:

Find the power steering reservoir. The typical location for this part is close to the facade of the engine compartment on the driver's side. Pull the cap and put it somewhere safe once you locate it.

Proceed to the next step only if your power steering reservoir contains a drain plug. Otherwise, drain the reservoir as much as possible utilizing the syringe or turkey baster.

Check out this turkey baster on Amazon.

Step 2:

Find the power steering pump near the front on the passenger side of the engine. Once you locate it, you should follow the high-pressure hose back to the reservoir. Flushing will occur through this hose.

The power steering reservoir is where you'll find any return lines in your vehicle. This line does not require flushing because the fresh fluid will begin to circulate through it as soon as you turn the ignition key.

Step 3:

We suggest you position the catch basin under the power steering reservoir's high-pressure hose connection. And to unfasten the hose clamp, it would be best to utilize pliers. Detach the hose afterward.

However, If you notice that the fluid starts leaking, putting the hose back would be best. Secure the hose clamp immediately. For this, you might want to enlist the aid of a companion to make things a bit easier.

Step 4:

After disconnecting the hose, put your finger over its end. And ask your companion to start the engine. The pipe will begin to leak fluid once the power steering pump activates. When it nears depletion, switch off the engine and reconnect the hose.

Ensure that you secure the hose clamp. And we suggest examining the level of the power steering fluid.

Keep doing this until you remove all the old fluid. Once done, it would be best to start the engine and look for leaks. If you notice none, then you're good to go!

What Are The Reasons for Power Steering Issues

What follows is a list of the most frequent potential causes of power steering failure:

1. Low or Insufficient Power Steering Liquid

Dropping fluid levels is the most prevalent culprit in power steering failure. Low fluid levels prevent the pump from creating adequate pressure to supply the hydraulic power required to aid in steering.

2. Leaking

Leaking is another frequent contributor to power steering issues. If leaking is present somewhere in your system, fluid will gradually escape, reducing pressure and making it more difficult to steer.

3. Presence of Air in The System

Air in the system is another possible issue. It produces cavitation, in which bubbles form in the fluid. Cavitation reduces pump efficiency and makes it more difficult to steer, among other things.

4. Worn Out Components

A vehicle's power steering system may eventually need replacement parts as time passes. The rack and pinion, along with the hoses and the pump, for instance. When these components experience wear and tear, they cannot be easy to steer.

5. Electrical Issues

Steering issues might occur if the electrical system that controls your power steering fails. There could be an issue with the wiring, the relay, or the fuse.

It would be best to have your vehicle checked out by a professional mechanic if the power steering is acting up. They will be able to determine the source of the issue and recommend a solution.

How To Identify Faulty Power Steering

Car steering oil level

Having any of these issues with your power steering indicates that you badly need to check it out:

Vibrations

If your steering wheel is vibrating or trembling, it could indicate that your tires, suspension, or engine is experiencing issues.

Pulling

You'll know that your power steering has issues when your vehicle pulls to one side when driving. It might be because of an alignment problem.

Looseness

Signs of looseness include a steering wheel that moves freely or isn't as tight as it once was, which may indicate alignment issues or a problem with the power steering system.

Turning Difficulty

If you experience difficulty in rotating the steering wheel, we are sure you have an ongoing problem with your car's power steering system.

Squealing

The power steering liquid is low when you hear a squealing noise while you turn the steering wheel. Or it is because of the power steering pump.

Wrap It All

Mixing power steering fluid is fine, but if you don't want to experience the issues mentioned in this post, it would be best to avoid doing such. It would also prevent you from spending on costly repairs in the future.

We hope you find this post helpful. If you have additional concerns, feel free to leave a comment. And if you want to read further, you can check these posts out!

Steering Wheel Hard To Turn Right But Not Left – What Could Be Wrong?

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