Maybe you need to add more power steering fluid, but you only have ATF. Or, the ATF at the store might be a few dollars cheaper, and you want to know why. When you look online for information about whether or not you can use ATF instead of power steering fluid, you’ll get a variety of answers.
Because there was so much wrong information out there, we had to step in and sort everything out for you. We’ll talk about everything you need to know, like what makes these fluids different and why and when that matters.
Can You Use ATF for Power Steering Fluid?
Most of the time, the answer is yes. But read your owner’s manual before adding any transmission fluid to the power steering pump. Some owner’s manuals will say that the power steering pump can’t work with ATF, while others won’t say anything about it.
If the owner’s manual doesn’t say you can’t use ATF, you’re probably fine, but you’re still taking a chance.
Because of this, you should only use ATF in an emergency and get the right fluid into the system as soon as possible.
This is because ATF has extra parts that help the transmission run smoothly. Most of the time, these additives don’t hurt the power steering pump, but sometimes they do and end up breaking it. This won’t happen right away, but it could happen if you leave the fluid in there for a long time.
Can You Mix ATF and Power Steering Fluid?
You might think there would be a big difference between filling a power steering pump with just ATF and mixing it with power steering fluid, but there isn’t much of a difference.
Power steering fluid and ATF are both hydraulic fluids, so they mix well with each other. In fact, if you can choose between adding only ATF or mixing ATF with power steering fluid, it’s best to mix the two.
This is because it will cut down on the number of additives in the system, making it less likely to cause problems.
But whether you mix ATF with power steering fluid or just add ATF, it’s best to flush the system and use the right fluid as soon as you can.
What’s the Difference Between ATF and Power Steering Fluid?
If both power steering fluid and automatic transmission fluid (ATF) are hydraulic fluids and are so similar, why is it bad to mix them? All of it comes down to what the different parts of the two fluids do. ATF contains friction and cleaning agents that help the transmission run smoothly.
The friction additives don’t cause big problems with the power steering pump, but the cleaning additives can cause big problems in the long run. These cleaners can cause problems if they mix with other things in the power steering pump.
Even though it’s unlikely that it will hurt you, it’s always best to be safe. Because of this, if you’re in a pinch and use ATF instead of power steering fluid, you should flush the system and use the right fluids as soon as you can.
Can You Use Power Steering Fluid for ATF?
Most of the time, you can replace power steering fluid with ATF, but you should never put power steering fluid in your transmission. Again, it’s all about the ingredients. The friction and cleaning agents that come in ATF are what your transmission fluid needs.
So, if you add power steering fluid, it will make your transmission too hot and won’t clean out the gunk like it should. So, even if you are in a pinch, you shouldn’t put power steering fluid in your transmission.
Instead of risking your whole transmission, it’s better to settle for a tow truck. Even if you’re just going for a short drive, if you wreck your transmission, it will cost you a lot more than a tow truck or waiting for the right fluid would have.
It can be tempting to use whatever you have on hand to get your car back on the road, but if you have a choice, it’s always best to use the right fluids. Even if you’re in a pinch, using the wrong fluids will cost you more money in the long run because you’ll have to flush the system and put the right fluids in when you get the chance.
So, since there is so much wrong information out there, I hope this guide helped clear up any confusion and showed why there are so many different opinions.