Is It Okay to Use Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) for Power Steering?

QuestionsCategory: Ask An ExpertIs It Okay to Use Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) for Power Steering?
Charlotte Robert Lee asked 6 months ago
I've heard varying opinions about using ATF for power steering fluid. Some say it's acceptable, while others insist on using specific fluids. What's the correct approach?
1 Answers
Zack Norman Staff answered 6 months ago
Hey there, Charlotte! Thanks for your query! In general, the use of ATF (automatic transmission fluid) in power steering systems varies depending on the vehicle's make and model. In older power steering systems, ATF was commonly used. However, many newer systems require specific types of fluid, which may include particular types of ATF. It's crucial to refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual or check the reservoir cap for the recommended type. Auto parts stores can also provide this information. It's important to note that ATF and power steering fluid (PSF) are not the same. While they are both hydraulic fluids, ATF contains additional friction additives and detergents. Using the wrong fluid can affect the steering performance and potentially damage the system. For instance, older Ford models are known to react negatively when PSF is used instead of ATF. In some cases, manufacturers like Honda include proprietary additives in their fluids, making it essential to use the brand-specific ATF or PSF to avoid issues like noisy pumps or deteriorating seals. In summary, always consult your vehicle’s manual or a professional to ensure you're using the correct fluid for your power steering system. It’s not just about compatibility but also about maintaining the efficiency and longevity of your car's steering system. Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team