The list of fluids our vehicles need is a lengthy one. Our vehicles count on a selection of fluids come operate, and also they all serve a very certain purpose. Brake fluid and power steering fluid are both hydraulic liquids, which leader me come wonder…

Can brake fluid be offered for strength steering? The price is a resounding no. If you offered brake fluid in your strength steering system, it would certainly cause significant damage.

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Brake fluid Vs power Steering Fluid


Brake fluid and also power steering fluid are both liquids provided in a hydraulic mechanism in modern-day vehicles, yet the similarities don’t go much farther than that.

Brake fluid and also power steering liquid were designed and sleek over the year to serve an extremely different objectives within vehicles, and they space not interchangeable.

In fact, putting brake fluid in your power steering reservoir will certainly do an ext than just cause your strength steering to lose efficiency. It will actually cause severe damage.

Here is review of the differences in between brake fluid and power steering fluid.

Brake FluidPower Steering Fluid
Composition: 60%-90% solvent, 5%-30% lubricant, 2%-5% additivesComposition: 85%-90% lubricant, 10%-15% additives
Usually Glycol-Ether basedUsually Petroleum-based
The key purpose is come transfer pressure into pressure in the brake system.The main purpose is to lubricate the strength steering pump.
The secondary purpose is to save brake lines indigenous corroding.The an additional purpose is to carry out pressure come the power steering system.
Caustic, will certainly strip repaint from your carNot caustic
Light yellow in color when new. Amber to brown as it ages.Yellow, amber or pink in color when new. Brown to black once it ages.
Low compressibilityLow compressibility, yet not together low together brake fluid
Not a great lubricantA great lubricant

Not every properties the brake fluid will cause problems in your power steering. The two main reasons you have the right to not use brake liquid in your power steering device are that brake liquid is caustic and also that brake liquid has weak lubricating abilities.

Not sufficient Lubricant in Brake Fluid

At just 5% to 30% lubricant, brake liquid would not work well together a lubricant because that the power steering pump. It can offer some lubricant come the strength steering pump, however not enough. The power steering pump requires the 85%-90% lubricant in strength steering fluid.

Without ideal lubricant, the relocating pieces that the power steering mechanism will not be able to move through the very same ease. This is specifically true for the areas in the power steering device where steel moves against metal.

The an outcome is that your power steering will certainly falter and eventually fail.

Brake fluid is Caustic

Considering brake fluid can strip the repaint off her car, you can only imagine what it might do come a system that to be not produced to stand up to its causticity.

Brake fluid would reason irreparable damages to the seals, gaskets, and rubber hoses in the strength steering system. It will either cause them to swell and also leak or cause parts that them to dissolve completely.

The strength steering would fail completely.

Cost of addressing the problems Caused by Brake fluid in the power Steering

So what will certainly all this price you?

It depends on just how much damage the brake liquid did, i beg your pardon would rely on how much brake fluid you poured in and whether it gotten in the entire power steering system. 

Here space some ballpark number to aid give friend an idea. These are all estimates and also can vary relying on your vehicle, location, and also the mechanic you lug it to.

If you placed brake liquid in your strength steering, climate you will must flush out the negative fluid and also replace it v new. If you can not DIY it, climate the cost will be $69.99 in ~ the the very least (Source). The price will vary depending upon how lot the strength steering fluid your certain vehicle takes.

In stimulate to fix the power steering system’s rack seals, the mechanic have to dismantle the system. This will boost the labor prices of the job. For parts and also labor, it have the right to cost between $600 and $1,000 (Source).

The average price to replace a water tap in your power steering system including parts and also labor is in between $388 and $512 (Source).

If the lack of lubrication causes a difficulty with the pump itself, the average price to change it is between $459 and also $659 (Source).

Where does This misunderstanding Come From?

Perhaps did you do it heard indigenous a friend or household member or someone else you trust that brake fluid and power steering fluid are interchangeable. It appears to be a fairly common misconception.

I think the source of this trouble is that automatic transmission liquid was used in early power steering systems prior to power steering fluid existed.

This was feasible because they space both primarily used together lubricants. The key difference in between them is that automatic transmission fluid has an ext detergents.

Brake fluid seems to have gained lumped right into it, yet brake fluid has never been used as power steering fluid.

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What If You placed Brake liquid in Your power Steering System?

Brake fluid will reason damage to the strength steering system. If girlfriend accidentally put brake fluid into your power steering system, you need to flush the mechanism thoroughly. This video details the process, but ns have also written that out.

Only try to flush your power steering device if you feel comfortable functioning on your own car, and also you are all set for a little of a mess.