Can You Use Transmission Fluid For Power Steering Fluid?

TaxiHack is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

It is really important to have the right piece of information before you decide on doing something so you do not end up messing with your vehicle’s components and performance.

If you are unfamiliar with what these fluids are and what they do, you have come to the right place.

It is really important to focus on the regular maintenance of your vehicle to run smoothly and feel secure while riding.

You must be wondering, can you use transmission fluid for power steering fluid?

Well, to put it in simple words, yes, you can. The power steering system is a hydraulic system that is the same as the transmission system.

You can use it as a power steering fluid substitute as both are hydraulic fluids.

However, some people have been against it, so to analyze whether you can or not, make sure to read through the owner’s manual first.

In this article, I will be providing you with detailed information regarding transmission fluid and what you can do with it and some tips that you should keep in mind so you do not end up with problems as there have been some cases.

What Does Transmission Fluid Do?

Can I replace the power steering fluid for transmission fluid? Find an answer by reading my blog

The main purpose of transmission fluid is to act as a coolant, and it is used to soak the components of a car’s transmission to assimilate optimum performance from your vehicle.

You need to note that their different types of transmission fluids out there, and what kind you should use mainly depends on the transmission used in your car.

It is best to check which fluid you should use as it will work best for your transmission in the owner’s manual.

Clean Or Soak Multiple Parts Of Your Transmission

How exactly does transmission fluid work?

Well, to put it simply, the main function of transmission fluid is to clean or soak multiple parts of your transmission to clean and protect the metal from wearing out.

Conditioning the gasket will also improve the cooling function and make sure to reduce high temperatures.

It will also work to maximize the rotational speed and the temperature rates to help your vehicle run smoothly.

It is important to note that your vehicle would fail to run without a good transmission that is best for your vehicle’s transmission, so it is really important to look into this aspect beforehand.

Ensure that you are getting your transmission serviced whenever you get the chance to. However, it is best to get it checked every month.

Different Types Of Transmission Fluid

There are various types available in the market for you to choose from, but it is really important to choose the one that is the best fit for your vehicle’s transmission.

This is because if used the wrong fluid, there are high chances of falling or damaging transmission and eventually your vehicle’s functionality.

You can choose the best fluid by looking through the owner’s manual.

1. Dexron/Mercon

These are the most common automatic transmission fluids used nowadays.

It works to provide the best service as it will protect the internal area of the transmission as this fluid contains friction modifiers.

2. HFM Fluids

This is called the Highly Friction Modified (HFM) fluids. These fluids are extremely useful and work much better even though they are similar to the Dexron and Mecron fluids.

3. Motor Oil

This oil is commonly used for a vehicle’s engine and can barely be used for transmission. This is because the oil has similar functions to that of the gear oil.

4. Synthetic Fluids

These fluids are extremely helpful as they are designed to bear up against extreme temperature changes and are highly likely to reduce oxidation, friction, and shearing.

It is also stated that these fluids are a lot expensive than the Dexron and Mecron fluids.

5. Hypoid Gear Oil

This type of oil is likely to be used in manual transmissions. This oil also can hold against serious temperature changes as well as pressures.

6. Type-F

This is automatic transmission fluid.

It is important to note that these fluids do not contain any friction modifiers and are most commonly used for vintage ’80s or 90’s vehicle transmissions.

What Is The Difference Between Transmission Fluid And Power Steering Fluid?

You need to learn the difference between the transmission and power steering fluid. Even though they contain hydraulic fluids, they are still not the same.

This information will help you know whether it is safe to make changes in the fluid or not.

The transmission fluid has a detergent which is the main difference between the two and friction modifiers are also there in transmission fluid.

There is a big difference in the formulation as the detergents in the transmission fluids are used to filter grease and remove any kind of dirt from the power steering fluids, as this can damage the steering rack’s hydraulic valves.

At the same time, the power steering fluid makes sure that there is no extreme heat building up of the valves and keeps the pump in check.

Automatic Transmission Fluids Vs. Power Steering Fluids

Furthermore, another big difference between the two is that the automatic transmission fluids are commonly used for cleaning and friction.

In contrast, the power steering fluids are used to soak and reduce the friction around the power steering components.

It is also important to note that the power steering fluid eliminates the surplus temperature.

It will also work to lubricate the gear unit and steering pump and put hydraulic pressure on the machine’s components.

It is worth mentioning that there is also a huge difference between the smell and color of both fluids as the automatic transmission fluids consists of a very sweet smell and is in color red.

It can also turn darker red or orange over time, whereas the power steering fluid is an either clear, pinkish or amber color and has a weird burnt marshmallow scent.

It can also turn red or brown over time.

Is Power Steering Fluid The Same As Transmission Fluid?

Yes and no! There are many people who do prefer using it whereas some are against it.

Even though the transmission fluids and the power steering fluids are both hydraulic fluids, but they both are really different from one another, as I have mentioned the differences earlier.

Vehicle Model

It highly depends on the vehicle model to determine whether you can use it or not.

It is stated that you should substitute it only if there is an emergency when you run out of the transmission fluids.

The reason why it is questioned a lot is that if you use a wrong and use a high volume of fluids that it can be the reason why your system might malfunction or damage.

Use Automatic Transmission Fluids

It is suggested that you should use automatic transmission fluids in a vehicle that are produced in the ’70s or even before that.

This is because the old model of the vehicle’s power steering system is made out of raw materials that can handle the transmission fluids due to the fact that they both are hydraulic fluids.

Make Sure To Read the Owner’s Manual

However, though, it is really unsafe to add fluids that might ruin the system of your vehicle if it does not fulfill the proper purposes.

The best way to determine whether you can use it or not is by reading the owner’s manual, as it will have better instructions on what you should do for the best performance of the transmission.

It will also tell you about which fluid is best, so make sure that you always read and follow through with the guidelines.

It is worth mentioning that the majority of mechanics prefer using automatic transmission fluids instead of power steering fluids as it is more convenient.

This is also because the mechanics do not prefer putting various fluids on their shelves due to the compatibility of both fluids has been confirmed.

What Does It Mean By Transmission Flush?

When it comes to transmission fluids, it is common that you will hear the words transmission flush, but what exactly does that mean and do.

The transmission flush helps to clean out or flush out the old fluid in your system, in the torque converter, or in the vehicle’s oil cooler.

It is the process of removing all the dirt, gunk, or grimes that might be attached to your transmission.

The main purpose of this maintenance is so you can easily remove and completely clean out the oil fluids and replace them with new fluids as it is really important to change to new fluids over time.

Helps In Smooth Transmission

It is important to change because it will help the transmission to run smoothly and prolong the life as well as protect it from any damage or serious problems occurring.

Make sure that you always read the owner’s manual before cleaning to have a better understanding; the information will also help you decide how many times and when exactly you should change the fluids.

The specification of changing your fluids will highly depend on your vehicle as well as on how you use it.

What Happens If Your Transmission Fluid Runs Low?

If your transmission fluid runs low on transmission fluid, then there are high chances of the transmission overheating, and that can be the cause of your transmission failing and not performing well.

Due to this problem, you are bound to pay an extra amount for repairing or replacement of the transmission. Moreover, your transmission might also run low due to leakage.

It is important to check the ground where your car is parked and make sure to check the fluids level every time you are doing maintenance.

Symptoms Of Low Transmission Fluids

  • If there are puddles under your vehicle, then it is highly likely that your transmission fluid is leaking.
  • The warning lights on your vehicle will tell you if the transmission temperature is high, which means that it would be hotter than usual.
  • Make sure that the transmission fluid is red or darker in color; if it is cleared color, then it is also an indication. If the color is orange or green, then it means it is time to change the fluid.
  • When the vehicle chatters on takeoff, it would feel as if you are driving on the rumble strips.
  • A burning smell might also be the indication that your transmission fluids are facing some problems. Therefore it is important to look into it even if there is a slight smell.
  • If there are roaring sounds while you go around corners, such as buzzing sounds, then that is also another reason your vehicle’s transmission fluid is low and needs maintenance as soon as possible.
  • If you are facing problems when you try to shift gears, such as sliding, bumping, sliding easily or even hearing weird noises, then that is an indicator that your transmission fluid is either running low or there is another problem that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.

It is stated that in order to check your transmission fluids, you can do this by pulling the transmission dipstick.

Many vehicles have this feature; it is important that you check your owner’s manual in order to locate, determine what the levels should exactly be and what you should do if it is running low.

However, if there is no dipstick in your vehicle, then it is best to contact a mechanic or technician who knows better and can guide you through the process.

What If It Runs Out Completely?

As I have mentioned earlier, that it is okay to use power steering fluids for a temporary time during an emergency.

However, it is best to get the transmission fluids as soon as possible because it is stated that running out of the fluids completely will lead to serious issues and will need expensive repairing.

If it runs out completely, then there are high chances that your vehicle will not go in gear. It might only move a little or even shit a little, so you will know that there are no fluids at all.

If you ever get caught in a situation like this or face symptoms that are listed above, then make sure to contact professional technicians as soon as possible as it can be dangerous driving like that.


I hope this article helped you have a better understanding of your query “Can you use transmission fluid for power steering fluid or not?”.

It is really necessary to have this piece of information as it will help you, in the long run, to determine what you should and can do for the excessive performance of your vehicle’s transmission as well as the performance of your vehicle while you are on the road.

Make sure to always check your vehicle thoroughly before you start your journey for safety purposes.