Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

The right power steering fluid

Get the right power steering fluid for your vehicle

If you’ve worked on your power steering or just need to top it off, you’ll need to know exactly what power steering fluid to use. There are NO universal industry standards for power steering fluid and NO power steering fluid meets all the manufacturers’ specifications. What if the fluid states that it’s “compatible?” with your vehicle? Well,

what power steering fluid

Here’s a fluid that claims it’s universal. How can that be when all car makers have different specifications?

if it doesn’t specifically list your car maker’s specifications on the label then it ISN’T right for your car or truck.

What are the different power steering fluids

I can’t list all the different specs here, but I’ll give you a few examples.

Audi (1984 – 1989) requires Pentosin CHF 7.1 or Audi #G002 000
Audi (1990 – 2005) requires Pentosin CHF 11S
Audi (2006 on) requires Pentosin CHF 202
BMW All models (1987 to 9/1991 production) requires Pentosin CHF 7.1 BMW #81 22 1 468 879
BMW All models (1990 on) requires Pentosin CHF 11S BMW #82 11 1 468 041
GM specifies fluid 9985010 for most newer vehicles. If you buy fluid from the dealer, buy GM 89020661 or 89021184. If you buy in the aftermarket, look for AC Delco 10-5030
Ford specifies two different fluids; ESW-M2C33 which is actually Mercon V ATF. But older vehicle use ATF Type F fluids for power steering.
Chrysler uses four different fluids.
Many Pre-1998 vehicles require MS-5931 Chrysler # 04883077
Many Post 1998 vehicles require MS-9602, which is ATF+4
Newer Jeeps require fluid specification MS-10838.
Hybrid Chrysler vehicles require MS-11655.
Honda/Acura vehicles require 08206‐9002– a special synthetic fluid that cannot be mixed with any other type.
Hyundai uses either Power Steering Fluid Type 3 or Dexron

Why use the right power steering fluid?

No one fluid can possibly meet all manufacturers’ specifications. Power steering components are EXPENSIVE. Fluid is the least costly part of the system. If you use the wrong fluid, you can damage the power steering pump, rack and pinion gear unit and damage hoses. The wrong viscosity fluid can cause noise and squeal. Why risk it when a short trip to the dealer guarantees the right fluid?

Does power steering sealer work?

If your power steering is leaking, you’re probably contemplating adding a power steering sealer. Don’t. Power steering systems usually leak due to a cracked or worn seal. Power steering stop leak products aren’t like cooling system stop leak products—they don’t actually plug the leak. Instead they soften and swell the seals and to make them seal again. That works in theory, but doesn’t work in the real world. Power steering systems generate up to 2,000-psi in tight turns. Softening the seal doesn’t work to hold in that kind of pressure. Plus, the seal swelling agents that cause rubber seals to swell also causes rubber power steering hoses to swell!!! So you may stop the leak temporarily, but you’re also destroying all the hoses in the system.

Avoid power steering sealers, power steering conditioners and power steering flush chemicals.

Those additives can’t be totally removed from the system and will contaminate the new fluid, reduce its viscosity and cause acids to form.

©, Rick Muscoplat


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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