For a braking system to function effectively, brake fluid is crucial. When the paddle is depressed, brake fluid creates a hydraulic pressure via which the brakes are applied. Brakes that are low on fluid may seem spongy, soft, or unresponsive.

Power steering fluid is used to lubricate the moving parts of the steering and to connect the power steering to the front wheels. Because they are hydraulic fluids, you may ask if power steering fluid may be utilized as brake fluid. Let us go over “Can you use power steering fluid as brake fluid” in detail.

Is the power steering fluid the same as the brake fluid

No, there are different uses for brake fluid and power steering fluid. Power steering fluid increases pressure on the steering system, whereas brake fluid powers up the parts of the vehicle’s braking system. Knowing the difference between brake fluid and power steering fluid is essential. 

  • Power steering fluid is often red, amber and pink, whereas brake fluid has a light yellow tint. 
  • Power steering fluid can be compressed, whereas brake fluid cannot. 
  • If we compare the boiling points of the two fluids, the power steering fluid has a slightly lower boiling point than the brake fluid.
  • While the braking fluid is based on silicone, mineral oil, or glycol-ether, the power steering fluid is oil-based.

What will happen if you put the power steering fluid in the brake reservoir?

Power steering and hydraulic fluid are used for hydraulic pressure and have nearly the same viscosity. They may appear identical; however, using power steering as brake fluid is not recommended. 

It may not appear to be a big deal at first. The fluid will correctly settle in the reservoir. However, the incorrect fluid will eventually destroy the brake pads and enter the master cylinder. As the power steering fluid enters the Master cylinder, it attempts to swell the broken seals.

Power steering fluid stored in the master cylinder will be pushed as the brake pedal is applied. 

Because power steering fluid is compressible, this can result in unresponsive braking or total brake failure. The use of power steering fluid in place of brake fluid can result in damage to hydraulic parts with seals and hoses.

How long does it take for power steering fluid to mess up brakes?

Typically, 2-10 minutes of braking is enough time to harm the braking system components. When the pedal is pressed, a piston from the master cylinder pushes the power steering fluid into the brake fluid line. Even if the brake were pressed for one minute, the power steering fluid would circulate and start swelling the rubber elements.

Accidentally put power steering fluid in brake fluid

If you unintentionally put power steering fluid instead of brake fluid, drain it as quickly as possible. Every rubber component of the braking system would run the danger of swelling if the power steering fluid were accidentally injected in place of brake fluid.

The only choice then is to swap out the damaged part. Whether you drove the car or not after accidentally pouring the power steering fluid will determine how much harm was done.

  • If the fluid is in the reservoir and the car hasn’t been driven, it may easily be sucked via a turkey baster. After that, you can also perform a flush to ensure there is no remaining power steering fluid in the system. 
  • Power steering fluid will go through the braking system if the car is driven and the brakes are used. Rubber parts such as brake hoses, calipers, master cylinder caps, master cylinders, and hard lines can swell due to power steering fluid. In that situation, contact a mechanic to replace the damaged rubber section and drain the fluid from all four wheels.

Synthetic power steering fluid in the brake system

Because it is of higher quality and contains more additives, synthetic power steering is used in high-performance vehicles. However, this does not imply that it can be used as a hydraulic fluid for a braking system. 

If the incorrect fluid is used, the seals and hoses will still be exposed to damage. If you are in an emergency and run out of brake fluid, using a soap and water solution is significantly better than using synthetic or regular power steering fluid.

FAQs

Driving without brake fluid is not recommended. Breaks can stop working entirely or become less responsive. This increases the risk of a car accident. Driving without brake fluid can also cause air bubbles to enter the brake fluid lines, affecting the braking system more.

No, you should not mix power steering fluid and brake fluid. They may mix well because they have about the same viscosity. However, power steering fluid lowers the boiling point of brake fluid, which may cause it to boil faster at high temperatures. Seals and hoses will swell if the brake fluid is contaminated with power steering fluid.

Conclusion

To sum up, power steering fluid should not be used as brake fluid. This is because power steering fluid can cause hoses and seals to swell. Failure of the brakes could result from this.

Instead of power steering fluid, ensure that all 4 wheels have had their fluid drained out if you added it accidentally. Contact a mechanic to inspect and replace damaged brake components before adding fresh brake fluid.

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