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Have you ever wondered, What are the meanings of ATF and Power Steering Fluids? Gone are those days when you could just use any oil in your engine and transmission. The vehicles have grown technologically so much over the years that they have also become delicate and sensitive in their own means.
They now have their specific automatic transmission fluids (ATF) and steering blends, for different brands of cars. For those who are still confused with the so many types of fluids and associated terms here is some useful information.
What are Transmission Fluid and Power Steering Fluids?
Though these liquids are quite different from one another, they do have their similarities. They are both hydraulic blends that cycle through high-pressure pumps that run some high force mechanism. The fluids are designed to have low viscosity and viscous friction. This means that they can easily withstand as much as 1000 PSI of pressure without heating up much while at work.
They can also withstand reasonably high temperatures and easily flows through thin tubes. They do all this while still supplying the necessary lubricity to protect the rotating pump and sliding mechanical parts from wear and tear. Some power steering fluids need Dexron like Dexron power steering fluid, or other similar types of ATFs, while other car manufacturers are specific about using blends that are specialized for the steering wheel but has slightly different properties.
Both fluids, however, have similar seal materials that resist the breakdown of hydraulic fluids. It is always better to follow your manufacturer’s instructions about using the various blends in your car. Sometimes if you can’t find a specific fluid, the auto parts store usually has a compatible power steering fluid substitute.
Our Top ATF Picks
|Castrol 03520C TRANSMAX DEX/MERC ATF, 1 Gallon||Check Availability <<|
|Royal Purple 06320-6PK Max ATF High Performance...||Check Availability <<|
|Red Line 30504 D4 Automatic Transmission Fluid - 1...||Check Availability <<|
& Our Top Power Steering Picks
|Prestone AS261 Power Steering Fluid - 32 oz.||Check Availability <<|
|Lucas Oil Power Steering Fluid with Conditioners...||Check Availability <<|
|Royal Purple ROY01326 MAX EZ Power Steering Fluid,...||Check Availability <<|
Not To Forget Our Best Seller
ACDelco 10-9395 Dexron VI ATF
- Backward compatible with previous DEXRON automatic transmission fluids and can be used as a much-improved replacement for older vehicles/transmissions originally using previous DEXRON fluids
- Improved performance over previous DEXRON fluids in: friction durability, viscosity stability, aeration and foam control, and oxidation resistance
- The ACDelco 10-9395 fluid offers you prolonged drain intervals.
- It is cost-effective.
- It is compatible with previous Dexron fluids.
- Enhances the durability of your tranny.
- You enjoy better fuel economy.
- Enhanced protection against friction, wear and tear.
- It is oxidation-resistant.
- You also enjoy enhanced viscosity stability.
- It is expensive.
What we like
ACDelco Dexron-v1 is the latest release in the Dexron series of ATFs. It comes with enhanced additives. These offer better performance and protection for your vehicle. You will get the best shifting even under extreme pressure and temperatures.
The synthetic fluid offers enhanced viscosity stability. The viscosity will not change even in extreme temperatures and pressure. As such, your tranny will get the lubrication for extended life.
Also, it comes with enhanced thermal properties that make it withstand extreme temperatures. The synthetic blend will not break down in high temperatures. As such, you will enjoy prolonged drain intervals.
Also, the resistance to break down offers optimal protection. This is particularly useful for highway and city drivers. For highway drivers, the long distances heat it up a lot and for city drivers, the start and stop driving also requires a sound transmission.
The synthetic oil, therefore, withstands the high temperatures. This protects against wear and tear. The ACDelco ATF helps in cooling it down when it heats up.
Also, it provides the much-needed lubrication during startup. This minimizes friction and wear of the parts and you enjoy an extended life in your car.
It is also oxidation-resistant and resists any formation of acids within it and protects against corrosion of its internal parts leading to a long lifespan.
Additionally, ACDelco’s stands out for its compatibility. It is compatible with most previous ATFs that meet the Dexron requirements. As such, you do not have to drain your current trans fluid to use ACDelco. This is cost-effective as you do not have to change the gaskets of filters.
However, mixing ACDelco ATF with other fluids may not produce the best results. As such, you should drain your current fluid and add ACDelco ATF to achieve the best results.
If you want to have a clean and healthy tranny, ACDelco is for you. The fluid comes with enhanced cleaning properties that leave it clean. The fluid prevents the formation of any sludge and dirt. It also collects all deposits leaving it clean and healthy. It is also rust-resistant.
What we do not like
The fluid is expensive compared to others. Some customers complain of receiving the package with leakages.
Others complain about getting a different product from what they offered.
Buying guide for Transmission Fluids
Transmission fluids are important for your car because they help cool and lubricate the different tranny parts. It also accumulates the dirt and other metal shavings flowing through the car’s system or sitting at the bottom of the pan.
It is better to always perform a transmission fluid flush that gets rid of all the debris before pouring fresh, new fluid into the car. Make sure you check its level at least once a month using a dipstick so that you change it on time and avoid any problems. You can also tell it is time to change by looking at the colour. The fluid is good if it’s bright red in colour with a sweet smell while a dirty and dark fluid emitting a burnt smell means it’s due for a replacement.
What is the difference between Mercon and Mercon V?
It’s not easy selecting the proper ATF for your vehicle because the wrong one can cause problems. Besides, if your vehicle is under warranty, using a fluid that isn’t approved by its manufacturer leads to voiding the warranty. While automotive companies develop specified blends for their vehicles, they don’t make them. It’s the petroleum companies who do that. These companies produce trans blends based on the formulas licensed by the company.
These formulas comprise of base oils and additives and the license fee lets the company use the automaker’s proprietary ATF brand name. Common names here are Dexron, Mercon, and ATF+4 which are the brand names of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler fluids respectively.
Most of the time, car companies stop licensing old formulas once a new ATF formula enters the market. And the last years have to lead to major automakers introducing many fully synthetic blends that are better than their conventional ATFs. The vehicles that used to run on the old formulas usually also run in the new ATF. The oil company anyway states that the old ATF can be replaced by its new counterpart.
In most cases, companies try to streamline. Instead of using the car manufacturer’s previous set formula, they try to make a new fluid that meets various manufacturers’ original specifications. They thus end up producing ‘multi-vehicle’ ATFs like fluids that meet the specifications of both Dexron III and Mercon V.
Customers thus find it difficult to find out if a particular multi-vehicle ATF is suitable for a specific vehicle because these multi-vehicle ATFs are manufactured to suit the standards set by the petroleum company. The ATFs quality and applications are generally based on their own testing and not by tests conducted by the vehicle manufacturer.
This has lead to many car makers adopting Dexron and Mercon formulations as their specified trans fluid like Motocraft Mercon ATF power steering fluid. Besides, as Dexron and Mercon are similar they are considered to be interchangeable. This has also led to many companies claiming that their Dexron/Mercon ATF can be used in various vehicles besides General Motors and Ford. They make these claims just because one model of that company used Dexron/Mercon.
However if you add these fluids to cars that are supposed to run only on ATFs like Mobil 1Dexron VI or Mercon lv then you end up voiding the warranty. Always be careful, and avoid using multi-vehicle ATFs advertised to be suitably used in various vehicles.
They are usually just Mercon or Dexron III versions. So unless your car was originally delivered with Dexron III or an earlier version of it or Mercon or Mercon V fluid like Castrol Mercon V, it is better to check the multi-vehicle ATF’s product data sheet before using it. Never take the risk of using a multi-vehicle fluid in your car if you doubt that Dexron III or Mercon ATF is suitable for your car.
The best way to choose the right one for your car is through the owner’s manual which states the recommended ATF when the car was new. Here is more about Dexron and Mercon trans fluids that were in the market but have been superseded now.
- Dexron, Dexron II, IID, and Dexron IIE are the original GM Dexron ATFs but are not licensed by the company anymore. They have been superseded by Dexron III which in turn is superseded by Dexron VI.
- The difference between Dexron II and IIE was its oxidation inhibitors.
- Dexron IV trans fluid is an upgraded version of Dexron III that was briefly used by GM.
- Dexron III/Saturn was a version developed solely for some Saturn models.
- Dexron VI is the latest GM ATF developed in 2006 for the latest six-speed automatic cars. It is a synthetic blend with tighter internal tolerances and higher shear strength than fluids like Mobil 1 ATF Dexron 3.
- It is backward compatible which means that it can be used in any vehicle that first used earlier Dexron versions, and can be mixed with them. However, GM does not advise using blends like Amsoil Dexron VI in non-GM make vehicles that used Dexron III ATF power steering fluid.
- While it’s the specified ATF for some non-GM models with GM trans like BMW, it’s not specified for use in GM-brand vehicles with non-GM transmissions or cars imported in the United States.
Mercon was introduced in 1987 by Ford and like Dexron II, had its license ceased in 2007. This was done because Ford started recommending using Mercon V for all trans that previously used Mercon. Mercon V is the most common Ford ATF but shouldn’t be used in transmissions requiring Ford Type F. It differs from the original Mercon by containing an additive that is not compatible with some older seals.
It also contains additional friction modifiers that make it more slippery than Mercon. This makes it ideal for trannies designed for it but not so good for trannies that aren’t. Mercon lv is the latest ATF from Ford that’s factory filled in 2008 and later Ford cars. It is a fully synthetic ATF. As it is not compatible with the earlier Mercon fluids, it cannot be mixed with Mercon or Valvoline Mercon V if replacing them.
In fact, it’s not compatible with other fluids too. Mercon SP is a Mercon V variant with additional additives while the Mercon CVT is meant for models with continuously variable trannys.
Can you use Transmission Fluid in a Power Steering Pump?
Most of the vehicle manufacturers design their steering systems to run under specialized PS fluids to give best results. There are also some systems that even use trans fluids for their power steering. They usually have the words ‘Use automatic transmission fluid’ or ‘Use Dexron’ or ‘Use Mercon’ inscribed on the fill cap or in the owner’s manual. ATFs offer the advantage of having detergents in them which help keep your system clean.
It is safe and okay to use trans fluid on the systems that are designed to run on them. However it should not be used on systems that specifically require power steering fluid. Besides, the recommended power steering fluids are not so expensive and are as easily available as tranny fluids. So you do not end up saving money by using an ATF in your power steering system.
The only instance it may be okay to use transmission fluids in a steering pump is during an emergency. And if done, the steering pump may work only for a short period. It may soon lead to problems in the steering parts. The only models that permit using tranny fluids in the steering pump are Chrysler, Ford, and GM vehicles.
Exceptional case of using ATFs in Honda Power Steering System
You should however never use auto trans fluids in a Honda power steering system. This is because Honda is rather particular about the fluids used in their vehicles. While it’s okay to use an ATF in an older Ford or domestic vehicle, it’s a huge no-no in Hondas and Acuras, especially in J-series engines.
Using ATF in these systems can lead to the abrupt failure of the power steering system. The fluid has a low tolerance level and tends to quickly break down, in less than 40,000 miles. So instead of going through all these problems, it’s better to just use the right fluid.
What happens if the wrong Transmission Fluid is used?
There are lots of problems that may happen like the transmission slipping, not properly engaging gear, rough shifting or not working at all. There is usually progressive damage done to the tranny where while it seems fine at first, it later starts to either slip or shift poorly. In some cases, the trans may entirely fail too.
If you are lucky, just changing and using the right ATF is all that’s needed to rectify things. However, if you aren’t lucky, then the tranny may get so damaged that it needs a complete rebuilding or replacement. In the case of manuals, the wrong fluid can lead to the synchronizer rings in them that match internal gear speeds while moving into gear to work less effectively. This, in turn, leads to the shifter feeling stiff or the shifter not falling into gear.
Sometimes the shifter may even grind while trying to put it in. In other words, the wrong fluid can with time wear out the synchronizer rings to lead to premature failure and an expensive rebuild. So using the wrong fluid in both manuals and autos can quickly wear out the bearings and gears while producing strange noises and failure.
Even putting the wrong fluid in a CVT trans may lead to it working well for a while because of the remainder CVT fluid in it. However this is only for a while and it may suddenly stop working, to never work again. Instead of going through all these problems and headache, it is always better to use the right and best fluid for your tranny because when you compare the costs of a fluid and the tranny, any fluid is naturally a cheaper and better option.
Mixing Transmission Fluids
The most common problems that may occur if you mix fluids is slippage or excessive clutch lockup. This applies to manual and automatic trannys. In the case of CVT transmissions, things may get catastrophic if another fluid is used in it.
It is generally not advised to mix fluids in older trannys but may be ok in small amounts when inevitable. The biggest problem that may occur in the case of older fluids is line pressure because changed fluids affect viscosity which in turn affects how quickly pressure is used.
While old Valvoline type FA is generally harder shifting fluid, Dexron III is a lighter option. Dexron VI synthetic fluid can lead to the failure of line pressure in older transmissions. Old trans clutches generally engage at fixed line pressure. In case the pressure is low because of viscosity, it leads to the clutches burning up. However, in case of too high pressures, the pistons may slam too hard and cause damage.
There are however some exceptions in blends that can be used instead of non-recommended fluids, which are the common blends, like Dexron and Mercon. So while Valvoline Max Life synthetic Trans fluid can be used instead of type F Dexron or Mercon in some transmissions.
The right Transmission Fluids
There may not be that many particular trans fluids for a manual tranny but in case of an Auto Trans it’s dependent on what you use, the Trans you have and what fluid it requires.
So while VW and Audi have their own fluids in varying numbers, most of them are ZF HP 19 Trans and are Dexron Mercon 3 with added friction modifiers. This means you will be fine if you add Dexron Mercon in a ZF transmission at first, and then add the right fluid.
However, there are some blends that are entirely different and incompatible with other fluids, which you will want to remove immediately. The reason for their incompatibility is because different companies use different adhesives in their fluids to bind frictional material to the clutch disks in the transmission’s drums.
Is it okay to mix power steering fluid with transmission fluid?
It is not advised to do so because it may lead to the compromising of your transmission seals because trans fluids have a different formula. There is however some models that may work when mixed, especially if the fluids are about the same viscosity.
Differences between Power Steering Fluid and Automatic Transmission Fluid
The main difference between the two is that ATF contains friction modifiers and detergents. It’s the detergents in the ATF that helps keep all the contaminants away from the tranny. This is very important as it helps prevent any damage to the hydraulic valves, an important part of the tranny.
The friction modifiers in the auto trans help control the heat that builds up while the valves and pump operate in the hydraulic systems. However, both contain the same seal materials that resist hydraulic fluid breakdown.
This is why auto transmission fluids are known for working in high-temperature ranges. It’s due to their additives which may end up blocking the power steering system’s actuator and a fluid pump.
Can you mix Dexron 3 with Dexron 6?
There may be situations where you may have to refill your tranny fluid, only to find out that there is still some Dexron 3 remaining in the transmission. This is when you wonder if can you mix Dexron 3 with Dexron 6 because the Dexron 6 container reads that it is okay to use in vehicles recommending Dex III.
You wonder if mixing the fluids will create problems or if it is better to have it flushed by a dealer with a filter change. Well, it is basically okay to mix Dex 6 with Dex3 as long as you filter and replace the drained fluid, and there are no shifting problems. This is because Dexron 6 is backward compatible with earlier trans hardware. However, you should note that the earlier fluids are not forward compatible with a transmission designed for Dexron 6.
Though expensive, Dexron VI synthetic can be used in any proportion with past model vehicles that have an automatic tranny, instead of Dexron 3. This is because it has a much lower viscosity out of the bottle when compared to other ATF or Dexron ATFs. You worry because Dexron VI is synthetic in nature and can ruin the transmission because of the reaction of the different additives in the two fluids.
This is especially true in Honda/Acura and Toyota trannies because their ATFs are designed to work in the transmissions they were designed for. Adding any brand or general ATF into their tranny can lead to immediate failure of the tranny because of lubricity change and hydraulic properties.
About Valvoline tranny fluids
Valvoline has a range of fluids that meet most vehicles’ manufacturer specifications. An example is the Valvoline MaxLife ATF which is synthetic in nature and uses Group III paraffinic oil as its base. This Valvoline Mercon lv fluid is suitable for all modern auto trans applications except for ATF+4 and CVTs. The fact that it is a synthetic fluid means that it comes with an extended drain interval.
It is not only compatible with transmission seals; it has an agent as an additive that conditions seals to prevent leaks. Valvoline MaxLife ATF also includes cleaning agents that can clean off deposits from friction-prone parts and even discourages the formation of deposits. It is compatible with Dexron VI, Mercon V, and Mercon lv and works on most European cars including BMW, Audi, Saab, and Mercedes-Benz.
About Castrol tranny Fluids
Castrol auto trans fluids are formulated to restore smooth shifting in vehicles. It can even smoothen the shifting of gears in cars that have run more than 75,000 miles. Castrol boasts of a wide range of ATFs that are engineered to protect important parts. This includes the products licensed by Ford, GM and Chrysler and fluids meeting the JASO requirements of popular Japanese imports from Nissan, Honda and Toyota.
Most of Castrol Transmax products like the Castrol Transmax Devron VI include Smooth Drive Technology comprising of active control molecules that automatically adjust their friction level even in varied pressures and speeds. This, in turn, provides for a smoother driving experience for a longer period.
Besides Castrol ATFs are formulated with extra friction durability and anti-wear chemistry that protects all the trans parts much better and in the process, protects and prevents extensive damage and repair costs. This is integral in today’s driving condition which can lead to an uncomfortable ride and damage if the fluid doesn’t protect the transmissions moving parts.
More on Our Top Picks
These fluids are necessary for various reasons like lubricating, cooling and preventing rust in the transmission. Not using any ATF, or using the wrong one for your vehicle, can lead to the tranny overheating and producing debris. This leads to the gradual but eventual wearing down of the internal parts.
Manual trannys do not require any specific fluids like synthetic blends and ATF. And unlike in manual transmissions, auto trans fluids tend to break down under normal use because of the high operating temperatures. This indicates it’s due that the fluid is changed.
As you won’t be changing transmission fluids as often as you change motor oils, it is always better to use the best fluids which effectively increase lubrication and reduce heat.
Castrol 03520C TRANSMAX DEX/MERC ATF, 1 Gallon
- Provides a smooth shift.
- It offers enhanced protection against friction, reducing wear and tear.
- It makes it more durable.
- The Castrol 03520c fluid can withstand high temperatures. This makes it more cost-effective.
- Its ability to withstand high temperatures ensures it provides the necessary protection.
- The Auto Trans Fluid also does not disintegrate under high temperatures. Thus, it reduces your drain intervals and provides the necessary lubrication.
- The fluid meets the Dexron-111 H requirements. It also meets the requirements of Dexron 11 E, Dexron-111, and Dexron 11.
- Additionally, this fluid meets the Mercon requirements.
- You can also use the fluid in power steering applications where you need Mercon.
- It is expensive.
What we like
The Castrol 03520C fluid is suitable for use in older Ford vehicles. You can also use it for transmission or power steering in other general motor vehicles. But, it should meet the requirements and specifications of the said manufacturers.
Do you do long-distance driving? Are you looking for a tranny blend that you are sure will offer the necessary protection?
When you do highway long-distance driving, the engine heats up a lot. The same applies to city driving, where you have to do a lot of stops and start driving as you want a fluid that will offer proper lubrication.
Conventional trans fluids may break down under high temperatures. Thus, they expose your transmission to wear and tear. Castrol 03520C, on the other hand, does not dissipate under high temperatures. So, it provides the necessary shifts prolonging its lifespan.
Castrol 03520C is also cost-effective. The ability to withstand high temperatures prolongs the fluid drain intervals.
Transmissions are also prone to wear and tear in the morning or when it is cold. As such, you should have a fluid that will flow fast. Castrol 03520C has a low viscosity. This allows it to flow fast during startup or in cold temperatures. Thus, it provides lubrication and prevents wear and tear.
Additionally, the fluid comes with properties that make it oxidation-resistant. Thus, it prevents an increase in viscosity that would slow down the flow of the fluid and prolongs the lifespan.
The oxidation resistance also prevents the formation of acids. The acid may cause corrosion of the metals and other parts. Castrol 03520C resists the formation of acids, thereby making it durable.
Plus, the fluid also comes with cleaning properties. As it flows and lubricates the parts, it also collects all the deposits. Thus, you have a clean and smooth shift.
Also, the fluid meets the Dexron 111 H, 11E, 111 requirements. It also meets Mercon’s requirements. As such, you do not have to worry about the fluid voiding your warranty.
What we do not like
This fluid is expensive. As such, it may be a challenge for some motorists.
Some users say that it takes a while before you can notice any difference in shifts.
Royal Purple 06320-6PK Max ATF High-Performance Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid
- High Film Strength Helps to Dramatically Reduce Heat and Wear
- Automatic Transmissions Generate a Great Deal of Heat and Depend on Transmission Fluid for Cooling and Protection
- Royal Purple 06320-6PK cools down your auto trans.
- It also contains a high film strength. Thus, it withstands the increased heat thereby reducing wear and tear.
- The Royal Purple fluids stand out because of its compatibility. It is compatible, and you can mix it with other tranny fluids.
- The synthetic fluid provides optimal protection of your tranny and extends its lifespan.
- Its ability to withstand high temperatures also makes it cost-effective. The resistance to breaking down extends the drain period.
- The synthetic fluid also meets the requirements of most car manufacturers. As such, it will not affect your warranty in case of any eventuality.
- It also offers increased power for your vehicle and smooth and crisper shifting.
- It is also oxidation and rust-resistant.
- It is more pricey compared to its conventional counterparts.
- Some users complain of not getting spectacular results.
What we like
The Royal Purple synthetic fluid stands out because of its compatibility. The trans fluid is compatible with many other fluids. As such, you do not have to drain your current fluid to add Royal Purple ATF.
Note, the mixing with other tranny fluids may affect its durability and performance. To get the best results, you should drain the current fluid. Then, add the Royal Purple synthetic blend.
Autos generate a lot of heat and require a fluid that will cool them down. Royal Purple comes with thermal properties. These help it to cool it down when its hot.
Additionally, the Royal Purple fluid does not dissipate under high temperatures. As such, it provides optimal protection even when the engine heats up. Thus, you have reduced wear and tear, which prolongs the life of your transmission.
Additionally, the fluid is cost-effective.
It does not break down under high temperatures. As such, you will have fewer trips to the maintenance shop to drain the fluid.
Also, the thermal properties come in handy during startups and in cold weather. The fluid flows effortlessly during startup to provide the necessary lubrication. As such, there will be less friction and wear and tear.
The fluid does not disintegrate even in high temperatures. This means its molecules remain suspended. Therefore, there will be no formation of sludge in the transmission. The fluid also collects and eliminates all deposits giving you have a clean tranny that offers optimal performance.
It also meets the requirements of most car manufacturers. Therefore, it will not affect your car’s warranty.
What’s more? Royal Purple MAX ATF is also oxidation-stable. It resists change in viscosity that may affect the protection of your transmission. It also prevents the formation of acids that may cause corrosion to metals and other parts enhancing its durability.
It is also rust-resistant and will be free from rust even when it is idle for a while.
What we do not like
Some users complain that the price is high and outrageous.
Others say there is no spectacular change in shifts when they use Royal Purple MAX ATF.
Red Line 30504 D4 Automatic Transmission Fluid
- Provides excellent low temperature shiftability
- Allows high-temperature operation without varnishing valves and clutches
- It provides a low viscosity for enhanced protection.
- The shape of the bottle makes it easy to pour.
- This synthetic fluid offers optimal protection in high temperatures.
- It allows for smooth shifting even in low temperatures.
- It is cost-effective.
- The synthetic fluid also keeps your tranny clean and healthy.
- It is pricey.
What we like
When a vehicle has been idle for a while, transmission fluids settle down and during start-up the fluid needs to flow fast. This helps to provide the necessary lubrication. Conventional fluids have a challenge flowing fast to lubricate the parts.
On the other hand, the Red Line comes with a low viscosity. Low viscosity allows for fast shifts and provides optimal protection during startups and in low temperatures.
Auto trannies generate a lot of heat and require a fluid that will cool them. The Red Line fluid comes with thermal properties that help it to withstand high temperatures. Therefore, you will have optimal protection against wear and tear even when it heats up.
The thermal properties also extend the fluid drain intervals. Thus, you will have fewer visits to the maintenance shop, which makes it cost-effective.
Additionally, the Red Line synthetic fluid has a low viscosity. As such, it provides lubrication to your auto trans allowing for smooth shifting. Some users say there was noticeable smooth shifting in their vehicle when using the Red Line ATF.
When the vehicle is not active for a while, there is the formation of rust, especially in areas with fluids. However, the Red Line synthetic trans fluid is rust-resistant and prevents the formation of rust.
Also, synthetic fluid is oxidation stable. As such, there will be no change in viscosity, even at high temperatures. Therefore, your tranny will be free from friction, wear, and tear.
Plus, the shape of the bottle makes it easy for you to pour the fluid preventing any spillage.
What we do not like
Users complain of not seeing any difference in their vehicle by using the synthetic ATF.
Other users say there was a noticeable smell when it heats up and the fluid burns.
Also, others say that when they received their order, some bottles were leaking.
Our Top Power Steering Fluid Picks
As assumed, power steering fluid is necessary for cleaning, lubricating and conditioning the power steering system seals. They also transmit the required hydraulic force while steering. With so many features in them, it’s no wonder that there are so many types of steering fluids in the market in varied formulas. There however is no guide depicting the perfect fluids to use in your vehicle except for your manufacturer’s recommendations.
You however need to know which PS fluid is right for your car so that you can replace it if there is a leakage. Leakages are the most common power steering problem that leads to the seals hardening and debris wearing away the seal surfaces. Dirty power steering fluids without the right additives only make things worse. The best way to prevent this entire unnecessary headache is by periodically checking, and replacing the right PS fluid.
Prestone Pack of 1 AS261 Power Steering Fluid-32 oz
- Maintains smooth power steering operation
- Anti-wear agents protect pump components
- It comes with seal conditioners that prevent leakages.
- The steering fluid is compatible with factory fluids.
- It prevents abnormal wear and tear which enhances durability.
- The anti-wear components protect the components of the pump.
- The steering fluid ensures a smooth power steering operation.
- It does not work well with some car models.
What we like
The power steering fluid comes with several additives that enhance its performance. For instance, it comes with seal conditioners. The seal conditioners rejuvenate the seal and prevent leakages. Leakages are some of the frequent challenges with power steering.
The steering fluid also comes with properties that inhibit the formation of acid. The corrosion-resistance protects the metal components and other parts of the power steering. This extends the lifespan of your power steering system.
The Prestone steering fluid is cost-effective as it is compatible with factory fluids. You can, therefore, add it to the factory fluid that your vehicle comes with. If you wish, you can drain the factory fluid and add the Prestone power steering fluid. The fluid comes with conditioners that rejuvenate the seals. This prevents leaks even when the fluid operates alone.
For some steering fluids, you may have a challenge steering in low temperatures.
Prestone power steering fluid offers optimal performance even in low temperatures. It comes with pour point depressants which enable operations even in low temperatures.
Additionally, the power steering fluid comes with properties that maintain smooth operations. It also features anti-wear properties. The properties reduce wear and tear in the power steering system, thus ensuring a long life.
It also comes with properties that prevent the squealing of the pump. The additives also include anti-foam properties that prevent steering loss and pump cavitation.
What’s more? Are you worried about what would happen to your warranty if you use the power steering fluid? Worry no more. Prestone power steering fluid meets the warranty requirements of many global car manufacturers. These include Ford, GM, and so on.
Also, the power steering fluid comes with properties that prevent rusting. When the vehicle is idle for a while it may lead to rusting of some parts.
However, Prestone power steering fluid contains anti-rust properties. The properties protect your pump and other components from rust.
What we do not like
Some users say that it did not work with their car models.
The seal conditioners may cause the seals to harden.
Its performance reduces when you mix with other power steering fluids.
It is expensive.
Lucas Oil Power Steering Fluid with Conditioners
- Formulated With The Finest Base Oil And Special Lucas Additives Tout-Perform All Others, Providing Smooth, Quiet Operation While Conditioning Seals To Prevent Leaks
- Improves Steering Response And Feel Extends Life Of Pumps, Rack & Pinion, Seals, Cylinders And Valves Compatible With All Power Steering Systems And Fluids, Petroleum Or Synthetic
- It is a product of creativity and innovation that enhances its performance.
- It prolongs the life of your pump, cylinders, seals, valves, rack, and opinions.
- The power steering fluid is compatible with other power steering fluids. These include synthetic or petroleum.
- You can also use it on all power steering systems.
- Lucas comes with additives that ensure a smooth and quiet operation of your seal.
- It also comes with conditioners that rejuvenate the seals and prevent leaks.
- It meets the warranty requirements of most car manufacturers.
- Although it is pricey, Lucas comes with additives that make the price worth it.
- It will cost you more than other power steering fluids.
- Some users complain that it does not eliminate noise in their vehicles.
What we like
When you are looking for a power steering fluid to use on your vehicle, the cost is a key factor to consider. If you are looking for a cost-effective power steering fluid, Lucas is your answer.
The power steering fluid is compatible with most power steering systems. As such, irrespective of your car model, you can be sure to use Lucas Oil and expect optimal performance. It is also compatible with other power steering fluids, both synthetic and petroleum.
As such, you do not have to drain your current power steering fluid to use Lucas Oil. That makes it cost-effective. However, you can also choose to drain the current mix and use Lucas Oil. That will ensure optimal performance for your vehicle. It also extends the drain interval, which saves you a lot of costs.
Additionally, Lucas comes with additives that help to rejuvenate the seals. As such, you do not have to worry about leakages when you use Lucas power steering fluid. You also do not have to undergo the cost of changing the seals.
For a power steering fluid, you want one that will reduce the noise and offer you a smooth operation. Lucas Oil power steering fluid provides you quiet operation. It also makes power steering smooth.
As you choose a power steering fluid, you should go for one that keeps your system clean. Lucas Oil power steering fluid prevents the formation of sludge. Thus, you have a clean system that offers the best performance.
Additionally, Lucas comes with additives that offer protection against wear and tear. As such, it extends the life of your pump, seals, cylinders, valves, and so on.
Plus, you do not have to worry about the power steering fluid messing with your car’s warranty. Lucas Oil power steering blend meets the requirements of most car manufacturers.
Finally, the shape of the bottle is convenient. It allows for easy pouring of the power steering fluid while preventing spillage.
What we do not like
When some users use Lucas Oil on their vehicle, it does not stop the noise.
It comes at an increased price as compared to other power steering fluids.
Royal Purple ROY01326 MAX EZ Power Steering Fluid
- Advanced power steering fluid
- Maximizes the life and performance of all power steering units
- It extends the life of your power steering system.
- Royal Purple Max EZ also has a prolonged drain period which makes it cost-effective.
- It is compatible with other power steering fluids. These include conventional and synthetics.
- The Royal Purple Max EZ also comes with additives that help your system run cooler.
- The properties also make your power steering quieter and able to run efficiently.
- Royal Purple Max EZ also comes with excellent seal compatibility..
- There are complains about the product coming either with a missing cap or a loose one.
- Some users say it doesn’t run cool.
What we like
When looking for a power steering fluid, go for one that is compatible with seals to prevent leakages. You should get one that rejuvenates the seals but does not make them hard.
Royal Purple Max EZ comes with properties that make it compatible with most seals. The fluid rejuvenates the seals to prevent leakages, and it does not harden them. As such, you do not have to undergo the cost of changing seals to use the power steering fluid.
Additionally, a power steering fluid should ensure that your system is clean. This allows it to perform optimally and also extends its life. Royal Purple Max EZ comes with additives that prevent the formation of sludge. As such, your system will be clean and hygienic for optimal performance.
Like other parts of your car, the power steering system will heat up. As such, the power steering fluid that you use should cool the system. It should also be able to operate in high temperatures and still be efficient.
Royal Purple Max EZ power steering fluid comes with thermal additives. They enable it to cool down your system when it heats up. It also does not break down under high temperatures. As such, you will have optimal performance and efficiency even when the system heats up.
Additionally, the resistance in high temperatures leads to a longer fluid life. As such, you will enjoy saving some costs as you will have extended drain periods.
The non-foaming power steering fluid is also rust-resistant. Therefore, you do not have to worry about rust formation even after days of inactivity. This ensures a longer life for your power steering system.
Also, Royal Purple Max EZ is resistant to corrosion by acids. Thus, it protects the metals parts from corrosion. This extends the lifespan of your power steering system.
It also protects against wear and tear. This protects the pump, the valves, and all the other parts.
What’s more? It is compatible with other petroleum and synthetic power steering fluids. Thus, you can choose to either retain the current power steering fluid or drain it. For the best performance and protection, you should use Royal Purple Max EZ alone.
What we do not like
Some users complain that the power steering fluid does not cool down the system when it heats up.
Also, some customers complain that their orders came with loose caps or missing caps.
Royal Purple Max EZ will cost you more than other power steering blends.
Is it ok to mix ATF and power steering fluid?
Power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid used in transmitting power from the steering to the wheels. The fluid makes it easier for the driver to turn and control the wheels. It is a fluid that helps in automatic transmissions. It makes gear shifting effortless and fast.
Sometimes, you may use ATF instead of power steering fluid accidentally or because there is no other option. Even though the two fluids have almost similar properties, mixing them will depend on the vehicle. For some car models, you can combine the fluids while for others, you cannot.
Both fluids are hydraulic, and so mixing them should not be dangerous. But it contains non-friction properties, while power steering helps to ease control of the wheels. Therefore, the difference in the material composition may lead to a problem if you mix them.
What is ATF 4 power steering fluid?
Running out of power steering fluid can be frustrating. If you run out of power steering fluid, the only option would be to get a working alternative. There are various types of options that you can go for.
However, it would be best if you were careful with the fluid you choose as an option. Some blends may react with the remains of the first fluid and cause an acidic reaction. This may end up damaging the power steering.
ATF 4 is a fluid used in turbo transmissions. The fluid can be used as an option for power steering since it contains 85% base oil and 15% additives. It is also hydraulic like the usual power steering fluids.
What is DEXRON ATF power steering fluid?
DEXRON is a trading name for the ATF formulated by General Motors. You can also use DEXRON trans fluids as power steering fluids. If you run down on power steering fluid, you can use a DEXRON ATF to top it up.
What power steering fluid does my car take?
Power steering fluids are hydraulic. They help to ease steering and to control the vehicle. Some power steering blends are synthetic, while others are mineral oils. Others are blended with additives to improve lubrication, prevent corrosion, and so on.
Different vehicles take different power steering fluids. For instance, some vehicles use auto trans fluids such as Mercon and Dexron. Others will require a specific power steering fluid.
The universal application of steering fluids is assisting in controlling the vehicle. But for some cars, they may require power steering fluid with special additives. These will help in easy pumping and flowing, among others.
To reduce the risk of damage, use the power steering fluid recommended for your vehicle. Some car manufacturers recommend a specific fluid for use in their vehicles. Ensure to use the particular fluid. Otherwise, the use of any other fluid may void your warranty.
Are conventional and synthetic transmission fluids the same?
Both conventional and synthetic fluids work the same. They provide lubrication to your tranny and protect it from wear and tear.
Their difference comes in performance and protection. Automatic transmissions generate a lot of heat. Therefore, you should use a blend that will withstand high temperatures. For conventional oils, they may break down in high temperatures. This leaves your transmission exposed to friction, wear, and tear reducing its life span.
But, synthetic fluids can withstand high temperatures and pressure. Thus, you will enjoy protection for your engine even in high temperatures.
Are synthetic blends compatible with other trans fluids?
Most fluids are compatible with other trans fluids. i.e conventional and synthetic.
You do not have to change the filters or gaskets when changing the tranny fluids. Thus, they are cost-effective.
Note, mixing blends may affect the performance of individual fluids. As such, it would be best to use one type, such as Royal Purple.
Are synthetic tranny fluids worth the cost?
Synthetic fluids come at an increased cost compared to conventional ones. The cost is, however, worth it as they come with a lot of additives as benefits.
For instance, synthetic blends come with thermal properties. The properties enable them to provide protection even at high temperatures. They also do not disintegrate under high temperatures.
Thus, you will enjoy an extended drain period, which is cost-effective.
What should I look out for when looking for power steering fluid?
Power steering fluid should provide lubrication for the pump, valves, and other parts. The lubrication will protect against friction, which would cause wear and tear. The wear and tear can reduce the lifespan of your power steering system.
Plus, a power steering fluid should maintain a clean system and equipment. This ensures optimal performance. It should prevent the formation of sludge and maintain a clean power steering system.
Additionally, the power steering fluid should cool down the system when it heats up. It should also withstand high temperatures. Thus, it will function optimally even at high temperatures.
Also, a power steering fluid should be compatible with the seals of your vehicle. It should be able to condition the seals to prevent leakages.
Should I mix power steering fluids from different brands?
Most power steering fluids are compatible with other steering fluids and you can combine them with other fluids, petroleum, and synthetic.
However, you should ensure that you follow the instructions from the manufacturer. Some manufacturers require that you use a specific type of power steering fluid in their vehicles.
Note, mixing power steering fluids may affect the performance of the individual fluids.
Will the use of a particular power steering fluid void my warranty?
Most power steering fluids meet the warranty requirements of most car manufacturers. So, you should not worry about the fluid voiding your warranty.
However, you should check with your manufacturer for more details. Thus, you can decide whether to use a particular power steering fluid or not.
Last update on 2020-07-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API