Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Dec. 4, 2018

Power steering is one of the best advances in automotive technology. It makes steering your vehicle easier and means that it requires less power and effort to steer at low speeds, even in tight spaces. However, to work properly your hydraulic power steering unit needs to be kept lubricated and the correct pressure needs to be transmitted to where it is needed. Your power steering fluid is responsible for both these jobs. However, there are numerous makes and types of power steering fluid available on the market, and depending on your vehicle, buying the wrong one could have a negative effect on your power steering. To help point you in the right direction our panel of car experts have compiled a list of the best power steering fluid.

The Best Power Steering Fluid

Genuine Honda Fluid 08206-9002 Power Steering Fluid is specifically designed for Honda power steering systems. It is suitable for all Honda models and removes the risk of the damage that can come from using power steering fluid from other manufacturers. The entire power steering system can be flushed with just three bottles.

Key Features
  • Genuine OEM Honda part
  • Power steering fluid
  • 12 oz bottle
Specification
  • Brand Honda
  • Model 08206-9002
  • Weight 12 ounces
PROS

Suitable for use with all Honda models

Protects and transmits pressure

CONS

Only suitable for Honda models

MERCON Automatic Transmission and Power Steering Fluid is recommended for use in Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln vehicles. The premium-quality automatic transmission fluid is a hydro-processed base oil with a high viscosity index that includes performance additives.

The fluid offers oxidation resistance, low-temperature fluidity, and superb shifting at high and low temperatures. MERCON also inhibits the formation of foam, sludge, and gum, and offers wear protection. Leak detection is made easier with the fluid’s red color.

Key Features
  • Transmission and power steering fluid
  • Suitable for Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln vehicles
  • Hydro-processed base oil
  • High viscosity index with performance additives
  • An easily recognizable red color
Specification
  • Brand Ford
  • Model XT-5-QM
  • Weight 1.95 pounds
PROS

Offers oxidation resistance and low-temperature fluidity

Provides superb shifting at high and low temperatures

Inhibits the formation of foam, sludge, and gum

Offers wear protection

Coloring offers easy leak detection

CONS

Should not be used as a replacement for continuously variable chain type transmission fluid, FNR5 automatic transmission fluid, MERCON SP, MERCON LV, Motorcraft premium automatic transmission fluid, or Type-F automatic transmission fluid

Should not be used in transfer cases where MERCON AFT is recommended

Genuine Mercedes Power Steering Fluid is ideal for either topping off or completely refilling the power steering fluid in any Mercedes. It offers a quiet and smooth power steering operation while improving the longevity and performance of your Mercedes. The fluid controls, oxidation, wear, and foaming, while also helping to keep the power steering system clean. The power steering fluid requires no modifications and is ready to install from the bottle.

Key Features
  • Power steering fluid
  • Designed specifically for Mercedes vehicles
Specification
  • Brand Genuine Mercedes
  • Model 4333075456
  • Weight 1.9 pounds
PROS

Suitable for use with all Mercedes vehicles with power steering

Supports quiet and smooth operation

Improves longevity and performance

Controls oxidation, wear, and foaming

Keeps the power steering system clean

Ready to install

CONS

Only suitable for Mercedes vehicles

CRP Automotive Pentosin Hydraulic Fluid is suitable for use in all weathers, including extreme conditions. The high-performance synthetic fluid is specially designed for power steering and other automotive hydraulic systems. It can be used effectively to support level control, shock absorbers, central locking systems, and hydro-pneumatic suspension.

Key Features
  • Multi-purpose hydraulic fluid
  • High-performance synthetic fluid
Specification
  • Brand CRP Automotive
  • Model 1405116
  • Weight 2 pounds
PROS

Suitable for a wide range of vehicles

Full performance from -40 degree Celsius to +130 degree Celsius

Also suitable for use with hydro-pneumatic suspension, central locking systems, shock absorbers, and level control

CONS

Care needs to be taken when pouring to avoid spillage

Prestone Power Steering Fluid with Stop Leak is a high-quality oil that is fortified with additives that revitalize shrunken, dried, and hardened seals. The fluid helps the power steering system to run smoothly and reduces fluid loss by helping you avoid leaky seals. The fluid also contains corrosion inhibitors that protect metal components and anti-wear agents that protect the pump components.

Key Features
  • Power steering fluid with stop leak action
  • Fortified with additives that revitalize seals
  • Reduces fluid loss
  • Includes corrosion inhibitors and anti-wear agents
Specification
  • Brand Prestone
  • Model AS263
  • Weight 2 pounds
PROS

Suitable for GM, Ford, Chrysler, and most non-US manufactured vehicles

Helps the power steering system to run smoothly

Revitalizes seals and reduces fuel loss through leaks

Includes anti-wear agents for pump protection

Includes corrosion inhibitors for protection of metal components

CONS

Not suitable for some Asian manufactured vehicles

Genuine Nissan Electric Power Steering Fluid is specifically designed for Nissan cars but can be used just as effectively in most of US and non-US manufactured vehicles. The fluid prevents oxidation, corrosion, and wear, while helping to stop squealing and improving the performance of your power steering system. The genuine Nissan fluid includes stabilizer additives and detergent to reduce valve, bearing, and rack wear. Using the fluid can also help to prevent shrinkage and hardening of seals.

Key Features
  • Genuine Nissan electric power steering fluid
  • Designed for all Nissan models
  • Suitable for most US and non-US manufactured vehicles
  • Prevents oxidation, corrosion, and wear
  • Includes stabilizer additives and detergent
Specification
  • Brand Nissan
  • Model 999MP-EPSF00P
  • Weight 1.9 pounds
PROS

Suitable for a wide range of vehicle makes and models

Prevents oxidation, corrosion, and wear

Reduces valve, bearing, and rack wear

Prevents seal shrinkage and hardening

Improves performance and longevity

CONS

More expensive than many similar power steering fluids

Royal Purple MAX EZ is an advanced power steering fluid that is designed to maximize the performance and lifespan of your power steering unit. It includes Proprietary Synerlec additive technology and can be mixed with conventional power steering fluids without losing effectiveness or causing damage to your vehicle.  

Key Features
  • Advanced power steering fluid
  • Suitable for most vehicles
  • Non-foaming
  • High-temperature service capability
  • Corrosion / rust protection
  • Proprietary Synerlec additive technology
  • Can be mixed with conventional power steering fluids
Specification
  • Brand Royal Purple
  • Model ROY01326
  • Weight 13.6 ounces
PROS

Can be used with a wide range of vehicles

Offers greater wear protection

Extends pump life

Can be mixed with conventional fluids without causing damage

CONS

Does not work as well with non-synthetic pumps

Red Line Power Steering Fluid provides protection against wear, thermal breakdown resistance, and protection against foaming and evaporation. The fluid also offers greater heat resistance and helps to prevent both high-temperature steering fade and boil over. It is suitable for most vehicles and is compatible with petroleums and synthetics.  

Key Features
  • Suitable for most vehicles
  • 50% greater high-temperature viscosity
  • One-fifth the high-temperature evaporation
  • Compatible with petroleums and synthetics
Specification
  • Brand Red Line
  • Model RED30404
  • Weight 1.7 pounds
PROS

Can be used with most makes and models of vehicles

Offers protection against evaporation and foaming

Provides wear protection and thermal breakdown resistance

Helps prevent high-temperature boil over

CONS

Not suitable for vehicles where using ATF in the power steering is recommended

Lucas Power Steering Fluid is a universal power steering fluid that contains a mild seal for helping to prevent small leaks. It reduces stiffness and friction in your power steering; improving your performance and driving enjoyment. The fluid also conditions O-rings and reduces the wear and tear on all steering parts. Additionally, it stops fading and foaming during high-performance situations.

Key Features
  • Universal power steering fluid
  • Improves flexibility
  • Reduces wear and tear
  • Includes conditioners
Specification
  • Brand Lucas Oil
  • Model 10008
  • Weight 2.03 pounds
PROS

Works with a wide range of vehicles

The mild seal prevents leaks

Conditions O-rings

Reduces wear and tear

Reduces stiffness and friction

CONS

Care needs to be taken when pouring the fluid to prevent spillages

Lubegard Complete Synthetic Power Steering Fluid is suitable for all North American, European, and Asian manufactured vehicles. It reduces friction while protecting hoses and seal. It extends the life of your power steering system and protects against extreme high and low temperatures.

Key Features
  • Complete synthetic power steering fluid
  • Extreme temperature protection
  • Universal suitability
  • Reduces friction and offers protection
Specification
  • Brand Lubegard
  • Model 23232
  • Weight 1.76 ounces
PROS

Protects against high and low temperatures

Reduces friction

Protects hoses and seals

Improves performance and longevity

CONS

Cost can be prohibitive

Best Power Steering Fluid Buying Guide & FAQ

There are a number of factors that go into deciding which is the best power steering fluid for your car. The type of power steering unit you have, the make and model of your vehicle, and your main purposing in purchasing the fluid, all have a role to play. Buying the wrong power steering fluid can have negative consequences for your power steering pump and your vehicle’s performance. To help you make the right decision, this part of the buying guide takes a closer look at power steering fluid, why it should be replaced, and how it should be used. It also answers some of the most frequently asked questions about power steering fluid.

What is Power Steering Fluid?

Power steering fluid is an essential element in ensuring your vehicle’s power steering works effectively. The fluid helps to keep the system lubricated, provides balance, and helps to transmit pressure to where it is needed. Power steering fluid is a form of hydraulic fluid that is usually either silicone or mineral oil based. Others power steering fluids are made from synthetic base oil and these are automatic transmission fluids. These different types are suitable for different types of power steering systems and using the wrong one could damage your power steering pump.

Power steering helps you to steer your vehicle more easily and with less effort. It does this through the use of electric or hydraulic actuators that provide controlled energy to the steering mechanism. This reduces the amount of physical effort needed to turn the vehicle’s wheels when it is moving slowly or standing still.

Where the power steering works on hydraulic power the system works through an actuator. This is a hydraulic cylinder that is part of the servo system. In these systems, there is a direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the linkage that steers the vehicle’s wheels. If the power steering fails, then the vehicle can still be steered manually.

Electric power steering instead uses an electric motor as the actuator. Power to the motor is controlled by the rest of the power steering system. Sensors are used to detect the steering column position and torque. These reading are sent to the computer module, which in turn applies assistance via the steering column or the motor.

Why You Should Replace Power Steering Fluid?

Replacing your fluid is an essential part of vehicle maintenance. Failing to replace your power steering fluid at the right time can lead to a host of problems, including the total failure of your power steering pump or system. One of the difficulties with power steering fluid is knowing when to change it. Changing intervals differ between vehicles, so if you are unsure you should check your vehicle’s manual or contact your dealer for advice.

However, there are some sure signs that it is time to change your power steering fluid. You should check the fluid at regular intervals and if you notice a change in color, then the fluid is getting close to needing changing. As with most oils and fluids in your car, the darker the fluid, the more likely it is that it needs changing. If you notice a burning smell while checking your fluid levels, this is a sign that it is heat damaged and needs replacing. Similarly, if you notice debris or particles in the fluid, then it needs changing. These particles can be a sign that your seals are degrading, which can cause leaks in the power steering system. If these particles make their way into the power steering system, then the damage they cause could be catastrophic.

Other signs that your power steering fluid needs changing include noises coming from the pump that controls the movement of the fluid in your power steering system. As impurities in the fluid built, they make it more difficult for the pump to work efficiently. As this happens, you may also notice that it takes more effort to turn your vehicle at low speeds or that the steering wheel tugs against you as you try to turn.

How to Use Power Steering Fluid?

Most power steering fluids are ready to use. If there is nothing wrong with the fluid in your reservoir and no leaks in the seals, then simply add fluid to the reservoir slowly, checking the levels as you pour. Remember the fluid expands as it heats up, so it is important not to overfill the reservoir.

If there are issues with the fluid such as signs of corrosion or seal degradation, you may need to flush the system, deal with any issues, and completely replace the power steering fluid. Some fluids include a power steering leak fix that revitalizes seals as well as supporting your power steering. If you are unsure whether a fluid is suitable and before you attempt to flush your system check with your vehicle’s manual or use a trusted mechanic.

Best Power Steering Fluid FAQ:

Q: How do I check power steering fluid level?

Checking your power steering fluid level is straightforward, but if you are unsure, always refer to your vehicle’s manual. The first step is locating your power steering fluid reservoir cylinder. It is usually located close to the power steering pump. In some vehicles it is located with the pump hoses, however, in either case, it should be made of either metal or plastic and have a clearly labeled cap. Once you have located the cylinder there are two ways to check the level of the fluid. Some cylinders are translucent, meaning you can see through the material and check the fluid level against the minimum and maximum levels that are indicated on the cylinder itself. Remember that you will still need to open the cylinder to check the color and smell of the fluid, and to check for debris. Where you cannot see through the cylinder, you will need to use a dip stick. Most vehicles have a dip stick attached to the underside of the cap to make this process easier. The dip stick will contain markings for minimum and maximum fluid levels. However, it is important to note that to gain an accurate reading in some vehicles, you need to run the engine for a brief period, and even turn the steering several times in either direction while the car idles. If you are unsure whether this is the case for your vehicle, check the vehicle’s manual. Other vehicles provide two sets of markings or graduations on the cylinder or on the dip stick. One set is for when the engine has been running and one for when it has been ideal. These may be marked as hot and cold. It is important to differentiate between the two sets of minimum and maximum markings to ensure you do not get a false reading. Again, if you are unsure, check your manual. If your fluid levels are low, then check for a power steering fluid leak before going any further. If there is nothing wrong with the fluid and there are no leaks in the system, then you can top up your fluid to the correct position and replace your cylinder cap. If there are any issues with the fluid, then it should be changed to reduce the risk of damage to the pump and other elements of your power steering system,

Q: How often should I change my power steering fluid?

Recommendations for checking your fluid levels vary between once a month and once a year. If you notice a change in color, a burning smell, or particles in the fluid, then the fluid needs to be changed. Similarly, if the power steering fluid pump begins to make noises or steering your vehicle at low speeds becomes more difficult, then these are signs that you may need to change your power steering fluid. You also need to check your vehicle’s manual as this will give you the specific fluid changing intervals for your make and model of car. While each fluid will recommend a changing interval, you should be guided first by your vehicle and the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer.

Q: Can I just pour in some new power steering fluid instead of replacing all of it?

Whether you need to replace or refill your power steering reservoir depends on your vehicle, the fluid that you are using, and importantly, what you find when you open the reservoir cap. If you find that your fluid has changed color, has a burnt smell, or contains debris or particles, then the fluid needs to be changed. However, these are also signs that there may be further issues with the power steering. You will need to check for leaks, corrosion, and damaged seals before replacing the fluid. If there is nothing wrong with the fluid and no signs of corrosion or leaks, then you should be clear to top up the fluid levels. However, you should ensure that you are using the correct fluid and that it is the same as the fluid that is already in the reservoir. Mixing different types of fluids can cause problems. If in doubt check with your car’s manual and check the manufacturer’s details on the fluid itself.

Our Top Pick

Out top pick power steering fluid is the Honda Genuine Power Steering Fluid. It is specifically designed for Honda power steering systems. It is suitable for all Honda models and removes the risk of damage that can come by using power steering fluid from other manufacturers. The entire power steering system can be flushed with just three bottles.

Sources:

  1. How to Check and Add Power Steering Fluid – wikiHow
  2. How to Flush Power Steering Fluid – wikiHow
  3. Power Steering Fluid – YourMechanic
  4. How Car Steering Works – howstuffworks

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