Power steering fluid is what makes your steering run smoothly and lets you drive the car. But what color is power steering fluid supposed to be? What color should I be worried about, and what color indicates that all is fine? Let’s find out!
Cars are heavy. Your average car might weigh about 4000 pounds. Imagine trying to steer a 4000-pound beast with your bare hands! It’s impossible to steer a modern-day car with a purely manual system. That’s why cars today have hydraulic power steering systems.
The power steering fluid plays the primary role in the hydraulic power steering system. It creates a hydraulic link between your steering wheel and the front wheels of your car.
This reduces the effort required to turn the steering wheels. Moreover, the fluid even helps lubricate the moving parts of the hydraulic power steering system.
You will find power steering fluid in a reservoir under the hood, usually on the car’s driver’s side. The reservoir is white with a black cap and has steering fluid written on top.
When you open the power steering fluid reservoir, the first thing you should notice is the color of the fluid. What color is the power steering fluid supposed to be? Power steering fluid is supposed to be either pink or red. But if it is dark brown or foamy, it needs to be changed. I will discuss more about power steering fluid, what it’s used for and what its color signifies. Keep reading for more information.
What Is Power Steering Fluid?
The hydraulic power steering system consists of major components like a vane pump, rotary vane, power steering fluid reservoir, and hydraulic chamber.
The vane pump is usually connected to the engine of your car. Whenever you start steering your vehicle vane pump starts drawing power from the engine and pumps the power steering fluid to the rotary vane, finally making its way to the hydraulic chamber.
In the hydraulic chamber, a piston separates the hydraulic chamber into two equal portions, i.e., the left and right sides. The power steering fluid is redirected in both chambers but not equal amounts.
It means in one chamber; you will find more power steering fluid compared to another chamber which creates a pressure difference in the hydraulic chamber.
The power steering fluid always pushes the piston towards the weak side of the hydraulic chamber, and the steering rack moves accordingly.
If the steering rack moves to the right, your car wheels will also move to the right side. Now power steering fluid will go back to the reservoir to repeat the process.
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What Are The Types Of Power Steering Fluid?
#1. Mineral Power Steering Fluid
The mineral power steering fluid consists of petroleum fractions and few additives. It works wonders for rubber components, i.e., it lessens wear and tear and increases the life of all the components of the steering system.
The mineral steering fluid is also less expensive than other power steering fluids. However, it has some disadvantages as it runs away very quickly and you need to replace it with a new one.
#2. Semisynthetic Power Steering Fluid
The semisynthetic fluid is a mix of both synthetic fluid and mineral fluid. It is a good lubricant compared to all other steering fluid types available on the market and works wonders for metal components but not for rubber ones.
#3. Synthetic Power Steering Fluid
The synthetic power steering fluid is the most popularly used steering fluid today. The majority of manufacturers recommend using this fluid in vehicles. The fluid consists of petroleum and special polymers. It is good for various lubricating components of the steering system.
#4.Universal Power Steering Fluid
The universal power steering fluid is synthetic and compatible with the different steering systems. It has good lubricating properties but has varying viscosity.
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Color Of Power Steering Fluid
You should know the color of the steering fluid. There are various fluids in your car which help in functioning. But sometimes there is leakage of some fluid, or you find a puddle of fluid just under your car.
If you have an idea about the color, you can quickly know which fluid is leaking from your car.
#1. Red Or Pink
Red or pink is the normal color of the power steering fluid. Most manufacturers dye the power steering fluid red or pink.
If you find red or pink fluid leaking from your car, it can be a power steering fluid leakage. Now check the location from where the fluid is leaking. If you find it’s leaking from the front of your car, then it is probably power steering fluid.
The power steering fluid is red or pink because of the dye. But its natural color is clear. Some manufacturers don’t prefer to dye the power steering fluid as they think that t will change its chemical composition.
#3. Dark Brown
The power steering fluid is usually a red, pink, or clear liquid. But as time passes, the dust and debris accumulate on the fluid and turn its color to dark brown.
When the power steering fluid starts to burn, its color changes to black.
Sometimes the color of the power steering fluid turns yellow. This means that some coolant in your car have mixed with the power steering fluid.
However, it will not pose a problem with the steering system of your vehicle unless the proportion of coolant is much more than the power steering fluid.
#6. Milky Or Foamy
If you find milky or foamy power steering fluid, then it indicates that air is trapped inside the power steering fluid.
Once your power steering fluid turns foamy, you will not find it slippery anymore. You need to replace the fluid as soon as possible; otherwise, you will start hearing knocking sounds from your car.
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Frequently Answered Questions
#1. What color indicates the power steering fluid is fine?
Power steering fluid is usually red or pink. However, it can also be clear liquid if the manufacturer decides not to dye the power steering fluid.
#2. What color is the Honda power steering fluid?
Some manufacturers dye the power steering fluid red, pink, or other colors so that you can easily detect the leakage. The Honda power steering fluid is golden in color.
#3. What color is the power steering fluid supposed to be?
The power steering fluid used in your car is usually red, pink color or clear liquid
#4. Why is my power steering fluid black?
When you find the power steering fluid color black, it indicates that it’s burning. So, you need to replace the fluid as soon as possible; otherwise, it may impact your hydraulic power steering system.
#5. Why is my power steering fluid brown?
When there is an increase in temperature, the chemicals in the power steering fluid start to separate. It is known as electrochemical degradation, and consequently, the power steering fluid changes to brown color.
Again lot of dust gets accumulated on the power steering fluid, which changes the color to brown.
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A Few Final Words
The power steering fluid is usually a red, pink, or clear liquid. But if you find power steering fluid leakage as black or brown color, then it’s time to replace it as soon as possible.
There are different power steering fluids available in the market. But, you need to find the appropriate power steering fluid suitable for your vehicle.
Then use a jack to lift the front portion of your car and then open the hood. You will find a reservoir where the power steering fluid is generally stored. Open the cap off the reservoir, remove all the old liquid, and replace it with a new one.
Then remove the jack and get your car back to ground level. Allow the engine to run for a few seconds or go out for a short drive and then check the fluid level in the reservoir. If you are satisfied, then you have successfully replaced the power steering fluid.