Mixing Power Steering Fluid: Can You Do It?

Risking or Playing Safe? A Take on How to Care for Cars the Power Steering Fluid Way

Car owners have long been concerned with the state of their cars. They even treat them as their families and precious possessions. More than an asset, cars for them are treasures of a lifetime. That is why as a form of car care, owners are wondering, “can I mix power steering fluid with transmission fluid?”

It is a concern especially because different types of fluid can cause extreme damage to a car and no owner would ever want to harm their precious possessions. Going back to the significant question that owners have, “can I mix power steering fluid with transmission fluid?” The answer is no. Why not? Why does it harm? What damage does it cost? Let us start by contrasting both types of fluid.

What is the difference between power steering fluid from transmission fluid and why is it essential and efficient to car owners?

Power steering fluid is a system used with the engine power that helps a car owner to have more control of the vehicle when it reduces the amount of effort needed to turn the front wheels of the vehicle. It comes in two types: Hydraulic and Electric.

Power steering fluid (left photo) and mechanic pouring transmission fluid (right photo).

Hyadraulic and Electric

Hydraulic system uses fluid to apply the hydraulic pressure needed to make the front wheels of a vehicle turn. However, an electric system from the name itself uses an electric motor and various sensors to detect how much force a driver applies to the steering wheel and it also determines how much assistance is needed to be added by the system. It is very efficient for car owners for it provides less effort for the driver to steer and turn the vehicle.

Transmission Fluid

On the other hand, transmission fluid helps lubricate the bearings and all the metal parts inside a car’s manual gearbox that keeps the vehicle from grinding down as it moves. Transmission fluids have different applications based on whether the car is manual or automatic. Automatic transmission fluid doesn’t only lubricate the moving parts of a vehicle but also provides hydraulic pressure and friction to make the internal parts work.

Compared to a manual transmission fluid this is a transmission oil that is used in automatic vehicles only. However, in manual cars, manual transmission oil is used where the clutch and shifter are used during gear shifts. These transmission fluids are very efficient to car owners for it allows a vehicle to shift at ease without wearing out any parts.

Given these differences once again, “can power steering fluid be mixed with transmission fluid?” The answer may be “it depends” but a lot more on the side of “no” than “yes” and the risk to do so will create tremendous harm and damage to one’s car. To reiterate clearer details as to why is it harmful to mix these two different fluids, let us proceed to answer two questions: (1) what happens if you use the wrong power steering fluid? (2) what happens if you put power steering fluid in the transmission fluid?

What happens if you use the wrong power steering fluid?

Experts say those car owners should take into consideration the brand of their cars in determining the compatible power steering fluid. Hence, brands of cars are one of the factors to look into as owners decide on the fluid that they will use. Needless to say, wrong fluid is said to improperly lubricate the pump or rack, or worse, it will not lubricate it at all, and wrong fluids can blow up within. Regardless, using the wrong power steering fluid will create disruption in a pump or rack.

It was also said that using the wrong power steering fluid is basically risking the sensitive components of the unit for expected damage. In this kind of situation, it would be better to be risk-averse or not take a risk at all. Experts determined and enumerated the number of damages that improper use of the wrong fluid might cause.

The potential to harm the pump and increase friction between moving parts was observed. Also, contrasting power steering components are predicted to most likely be subject to early wear and tear leading to the assumption that it would not last long.

Given all these negative observations and testimonies about using the wrong power steering fluid, it is somehow a reminder for every car owner to countercheck all the necessary factors and determinants to avoid possible damages and harm for a smooth flow of drive and ride. Also, it is a reminder to only use what is advised of you to use.

What happens if you put power steering fluid in the transmission fluid?

Actually, some experts answered this question with an answer of, “it depends.” However, negative effects outweighed the positive ones when it comes to mixing power steering fluid in the transmission fluid. Yes, it can be used as a substitute especially during emergencies but aside from that, it is better to use what is assigned and what is the most compatible fluid for your vehicle.

Given that power steering fluid and transmission fluid are only similar by being hydraulic fluids, all their other differences will cause harm to the vehicle. As much as possible, it is recommended to not mix these different fluids altogether.

Damages may affect the shifting of the gears and may lead to more unwanted problems. Therefore, experts suggested always following and using the power steering fluid that is best compatible with your vehicle.


Being a car owner is both a gift and responsibility therefore a car owner should also be aware of his/her duties in taking care of his/her vehicle. We found out that power steering fluids compared to transmission fluid have more variety in their kind. Power steering transmission can come through fluid and electric motors or what we also call machinery, however in transmission fluids whether it will be used in an automatic or manual car it will still come in a fluid form.

We have also found out that mixing power steering fluids with transmission fluids leads to a high possibility of having a vehicle prone to damages and harm to its part. However, in instances of emergencies, we can use power steering fluids as an alternative for transmissions fluid and vice versa but still, it is best to avoid doing so because of the tremendous damages more than its positive impact on vehicles.

With this, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment and give feedback. Here’s to discovering more about all things spectacular.

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!

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