Is transmission fluid and power steering fluid the same?
Transmission fluid and power steering fluid are similar, sometimes identical, and sometimes nothing alike. It is important to only use fluids the manufacture recommends for your vehicle.
Can I use transmission fluid in my power steering?
Yes, it is possible to use transmission fluid in a power steering system. It does depend on the make and model of the vehicle. Some power steering systems must have specific types of power steering fluid to function properly.
What is power steering fluid?
Power steering fluid is essentially hydraulic fluid. There are two types of power steering fluid, oil-based (Conventional) and non-oil-based (Synthetic). Power steering fluid is pressurized by a pump that is powered by the engine to multiply the force input from the steering wheel. This makes it much easier to control and steer a car or truck.
Oil-based (non-synthetic) power steering fluid:
This is the most common type of fluid usually found in automatic transmissions and power steering systems. (ATF)
*ATF stands for automatic transmission fluid*
Synthetic (non-oil-based) power steering fluid:
This is a type of power steering fluid that is specifically designed for certain power steering systems. It will be uncommon to see synthetic power steering fluids in transmissions.
Can I use power steering fluid in my transmission?
I would not! Even if your power steering system used oil-based (non-synthetic) power steering fluids, it is important to only use what the manufacture suggests in their handbook for transmission fluid. Transmissions, especially automatic transmissions are extremely expensive to repair and replace.
It will cost between $1200-$4500 to repair or replace an automatic transmission in a modern vehicle.
Does transmission fluid affect power steering?
If the transmission fluid matches what is required for the power steering system, then it will have no effect on the operation, performance, or longevity.
Will power steering fluid hurt my transmission?
If the wrong fluid is used for your transmission, you could run the risk of overheating the transmission or catastrophic damage. Transmissions typically operate between 130-250 degrees farinheit. If the wrong fluid is used, the lubrication properties can break down earlier than normal. With service intervals for transmission fluid ranging between 25k-50k miles, you could be left with no lubrication long before the next service interval comes around.
It is very important to see the manufactures recommendations for ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid)
Can I use motor oil in power steering?
For short periods of time, motor oil could work as a replacement for a power steering fluid. Motor oil is much thicker than power steering fluid, so damage to the system could be caused, or sluggish steering. Make sure to completely flush all oil out of the power steering system when you convert back to power steering fluid.
Would I recommend using motor oil for the power steering system? Heck no. It’s a mess!
Can I use motor oil in transmission?
Absolutely not! An automatic transmission relies upon precise pressures to engage and disengage clutches and other parts. Motor oil should never be used in a transmission.
Can I mix power steering fluid and transmission fluid?
If your power steering fluid is the same as your automatic transmission fluid (ATF). Then they can be mixed together without any issues.
In case of an emergency, and you have synthetic power steering fluid in your power steering system and oil-based power steering fluid readily available. It is okay to mix these for a short period, prepare to flush the power steering system asap.
What is the best fluid for power steering?
I know this probably will not completely answer your question, but the power steering fluid is whatever your manufacture recommends for your vehicle. Engineers design systems around the power steering fluid it will use. Changing to a different power steering fluid could affect the steering feel, or performance.
With that being said brand choice is up to you. If you have a non-synthetic power steering fluid or oil-based, just use the kind you have. Do not be concerned with damaging a power steering system from one brand to another.
Can I use hydraulic fluid for power steering?
Yes, in oil-based power steering systems hydraulic fluid could be used as a replacement, it is essentially the same product.
What is the best fluid for transmission?
Like with power steering fluid, the best fluid is what the manufacture recommends to use. If you would like to choose a brand you trust like Valvoline, or royal purple it is up to you. Ensure the kind you are putting in, is the kind the manufacture recommends.
ATF4 vs ATF3
What is ATF4?
ATF4 is specifically designed by Chrysler for its automatic transmissions.
What is ATF3?
ATF3 is the industry standard for cars, trucks, vans, and vans.
What is ATF?
ATF stands for automatic transmission fluid.
Can I use ATF4 in an ATF3 transmision?
ATF4 is compatible with ATF3. If you only have ATF4 available for an ATF3 automatic transmission, it can be used.
Can I use ATF3 in a ATF4 Transmision?
ATF3 is not always compatible with an ATF4 transmission. See vehicle manual to confirm if ATF3 can be used.
What should I do if I accidentally put ATF3 in an ATF4 Transmission?
- Confirm ATF3 is/Is not compatiable with your ATF4 transmision.
- If not: Drain all transmision fluid from the vehicle.
- Flush the transmision with ATF4 (About 1QT will do)
- Re-install drain plug.
- Fill transmision with required amount of ATF4.
Will using the wrong transmission fluid void a manufacture warranty?
In some cases yes, and in some cases no. Reach out to your local dealership for more information.
How long does the power steering fluid last?
Power steering fluid can last anywhere from 10,000 miles to 80,000 miles. It is important to replace and flush the power steering system when service intervals require it.
View your vehicle’s handbook.
How long does transmission fluid last?
Transmission fluid can last anywhere from 30,000 miles to 150,000 miles. It is important to replace and flush your transmission fluid when service intervals require it.
View your vehicle’s handbook.