Power Steering Fluid Colors and Their Meaning

The vehicle contains various fluids to ensure the proper lubrication of the relevant systems. The steering wheel is one of the major parts of the vehicle. The power steering fluid is used to lubricate the parts of the steering system. There are different colors of the power steering fluid.

power steering fluid color chart

The power steering fluid color varies according to the vehicle model. The power steering fluid usually has a red, pink, or green color. In some cases, it may be clear. However, if you observe a different color, it could indicate contamination or another underlying issue that requires attention.

This article explains the power steering fluid colors and their meaning.

What is the function of the Power Steering Fluid?

Power steering fluid is an essential component in the power steering system of most modern cars. It serves as a hydraulic fluid that enables the transmission of power from the steering wheel to the steering mechanisms.

The fluid plays a crucial role in maintaining smooth operation and protecting the rotating components of the steering system.  

power steering fluid colors

The color of your power steering fluid can vary depending on the type and condition of the fluid. While there are no specific universal color codes for power steering fluid, there are some general guidelines that can provide insight into its condition.

Power Steering Fluid Colors

Red is the most common color for power steering fluid, though it’s not the only color.  The power steering fluid is available in the following colors:

  • Pink or Red
  • Clear
  • Green
  • Dark Brown or Black
  • Milky
  • Yellow

1) Pink or Red Power Steering Fluid

The standard color for power steering fluid is red, and it is commonly dyed red in most commercially available products. Some power steering fluids may also have a slightly pink color.

Red power steering fluid

If you notice a red-colored fluid under your vehicle, there is a high probability that it is power steering fluid leaking. However, for more surety, you can examine the area from where the fluid is leaking. If this leakage is towards the front of your vehicle and closer to the driver’s seat, it is likely the power steering fluid.

Determining the feel of the fluid may not provide much information, as power steering fluid, like many other fluids in your vehicle, is typically slippery to reduce friction.

If you find pink or red fluid under your car due to a leak, it is crucial to address the issue promptly. While the fluid may still be working effectively and has not deceased, the leak needs to be resolved to prevent potential damage or loss of power steering functionality.  

It is recommended to contact a professional to diagnose and repair the leakage as soon as possible.

2) Clear Power Steering Fluid

As we discussed above, pink or red is considered the standard color for power steering fluid because of the addition of dye, but it’s worth mentioning that the fluid is naturally clear.

Clear Power Steering Fluid

Few brands choose not to dye the steering fluid, as they believe that adding color could potentially alter its chemical composition. Therefore, it is possible that your power steering fluid may be clear in color.

3) Green Power Steering Fluid

In older vehicles, the power steering fluid was typically pink or red in color. But green power steering fluid is also used in the latest vehicle models, particularly in European-made cars like Audi or Volkswagen.

Green Power Steering Fluid

It’s important to note that the green power steering fluid is often different from the pink or red fluid, and the two should not be mixed.

The green steering fluid is typically formulated to meet the specific requirements of certain car models and may have different properties and additives compared to the red fluid. The green steering fluids are ideal for low temperatures because of their low viscosity.

It is crucial to use a power steering fluid with the correct specifications recommended by your car’s manufacturer to prevent any potential damage to the system.

4) Dark Brown or Black

Power steering fluid isn’t naturally manufactured in black or dark brown colors. These colors are more commonly associated with engine oil. The motor oil starts off as a brown fluid, but as it accumulates contaminants from the engine, its color gradually turns black.

Brown power steering fluid

Similarly, power steering fluid can also change color over time. Even if you initially add red fluid into the power steering fluid reservoir, it can eventually become discolored as it collects contaminants from the system. This can result in the fluid turning black or brown. 

If you observe the power steering fluid in such black or brown colors, it is advisable to flush it instantly. This discoloration indicates that the fluid has been circulating for a long time in the power steering system, and it may not be effectively performing its intended functions. Contaminated steering fluids may reduce the functionality of your steering system.

5) Milky Power Steering Fluid

Discovering foamy or milky power steering fluid is an alarming sign. It indicates the presence of trapped air within the fluid. Instead of having a slippery texture, the fluid might feel slimy.

When you face such a situation, immediate action is necessary. It is crucial to flush the fluid as soon as possible and change it.

Milky Power Steering Fluid

When the color of your power steering fluid changes milky, it becomes unfavorable for the proper functioning of your steering system. In such a condition, your steering system may produce a knocking noise, and it will be hard to turn the steering wheel. In severe conditions, the steering wheel may even seize while driving, posing a significant safety risk.

When you notice that your steering fluid color is converted into milky or foamy, you should replace it as soon as possible to prevent the steering system from further damage.

6) Yellow Power Steering Fluid

If your power steering fluid appears yellow, it is not necessarily an indication of dirtiness. But it should not be yellow in color as well.

Yellow Power Steering Fluid

In some cases, coolant may leak into the power steering fluid and mix in it, which leads to yellow coloration. Regardless of how it occurred or what caused it, it is crucial to flush and replace the fluid to ensure the safety and proper functioning of your power steering system.

However, certain power steering fluid manufacturers produce yellow-colored fluids, so further inspection may be necessary to determine if there is any issue with the fluid.

If you are uncertain, it is recommended to seek professional advice from a professional mechanic or consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual for guidance.

Read More: Power Steering Fluid Leak Symptoms and Causes

Types of Power Steering Fluids

The power steering fluid has the following types:

  • Universal Power Steering Fluid
  • Synthetic Power Steering Fluid
  • Semi-Synthetic Power Steering Fluid
  • Mineral Power Steering Fluid

1) Universal Steering Fluid

Universal power steering fluid is designed to be versatile and compatible with various power steering systems as long as the viscosity matches the requirements of your specific vehicle.

However, it is important to note that even though it is called “universal,” you should still check the compatibility of your fluid based on the recommendations provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

While universal power steering fluids may not offer similar additives or specific assistances as other specialized fluids. But it may still serve the purpose of reducing friction within the system and providing protection to critical components. It helps maintain the smooth operation of the power steering system.

2) Synthetic Steering Fluid

Synthetic power steering fluid is an excellent choice for your vehicle if your vehicle manufacturer recommends it. Using the wrong type of fluid can have adverse effects on the steering pump and overall system performance.

Synthetic fluid is composed of polyhydric alcohols, polyesters, and refined petroleum fractions. It offers several advantages, including a longer lifespan, resistance to foaming, and low viscosity. It helps to ensure the smooth operation of the power steering system for an extended period.

3) Semi-Synthetic Power Steering Fluid

Semi-synthetic power steering fluid is a blend of mineral and synthetic components. This type of steering fluid offers several benefits as an automotive fluid, including resistance to foaming, effective lubrication, and low viscosity. These qualities make it a favorable option for many vehicles.

But it’s important to be cautious when using semi-synthetic fluids that contain additives, as they can potentially cause damage to certain rubber components. It is advisable to be mindful of this aspect if you are utilizing a fluid that combines petroleum and synthetic properties.

4) Mineral Power Steering Fluid

This type of power steering fluid is manufactured with refined petroleum and specific additives to enhance its performance. The mineral steering fluid is particularly beneficial for lubricating rubber parts and ensuring their longevity.

Compared to other types of power steering fluids, mineral fluid is generally less expensive. But it may require more frequent changes and can be prone to foaming issues.

You should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the type of power steering fluid to use in your vehicle.

FAQ Section

What color is the Honda power steering fluid?

While the majority of power steering fluids typically have clear, pink, or red colors, but there are some other color options when it comes to specific manufacturers. For instance, the Honda power steering fluid has a golden color, distinguishing it from the standard colors.

What color is dirty power steering fluid?

When the power steering fluid becomes dirty or degraded, its color will typically darken from its original color. If you notice that the power steering fluid has turned black, brown, dark green, or dark red, it is a clear indication that it is time to change the fluid.

What color is a Prestone power steering fluid?

Prestone power steering fluid has a green color, which sets it apart from the more common pink, clear, or red color fluids found in other brands.

What color is Nissan power steering fluid?

Nissan, like many other manufacturers, uses red power steering fluid. This choice of color allows for easy identification and detection of any potential leaks in the power steering system.

Which fluids are used in a car?

A car uses different types of fluids, including engine oil, radiator fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, engine coolant, brake fluid, and washer fluid.

What color is Toyota power steering fluid?

When it comes to determining the color of Toyota power steering fluid, it is important to consider the prevailing colors used by manufacturers in the market. Toyota power steering fluid color is commonly red.

Does power steering fluid color matter?

Yes, the power steering fluid color highly matters. For instance, if your vehicle is compatible with a red power steering fluid, it won’t be compatible with a green power steering fluid. It is important to use a fluid that is compatible with your car’s specifications. Various brands may use various colors for the same type of fluid, so it is crucial to refer to the specifications to ensure compatibility.

Can I mix red and green power steering fluids?

It is important to note that a green power steering fluid and a red power steering fluid should not be mixed together. Green fluid often has a different viscosity and is typically better suited for low-temperature environments. Additionally, red and green power steering fluids may consist of different formulations.

Is transmission fluid or power steering fluid red?

In some cars, the transmission fluid and power steering fluid may share the same red color. It is possible for these fluids to be interchangeable and mixed in certain vehicles. But it is crucial to read the requirements of your specific vehicle to ensure fluid compatibility and avoid any potential issues.

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