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What Color Is Power Steering Fluid?

Auto car repair service center. Mechanic checking engine oil level

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If you have a car, you need fuel to run it.

But you also need another important thing – a fuel to run the power steering system of the car. This is where the power steering fluid comes in. It is a hydraulic liquid, which allows for the easy transmission of power from the wheel to the steering mechanism of the car.

Another key function of this fluid is to ensure and maintain the smooth working of the mechanism by protecting and lubricating all parts of the system. Long story short, this fluid moves your car.

In its absence, not only does your car face serious operational problems, but the entire steering mechanism is also compromised.

But what color is this fluid? And how do you recognize what it indicates?

If you are left wondering, read on to learn all about the colors of power steering fluid and put your doubts to rest!

What should the ideal color of a power steering fluid be?

car interior. Modern car speedometer and illuminated dashboard. Luxurious car instrument cluster. Close up shot of car instrument panel

As a defining characteristic, color plays a major role in understanding power steering fluids.

They come in a variety of hues that differ greatly from model to model, or brand to brand. You may have a number of questions: is your steering fluid of the color it is supposed to be? Has it changed since the time you bought it?

These are questions that befuddle the consumer while handling a new vehicle. A simplified answer would be: even though the color of the fluid varies from one manufacturer to the next, the most common ones are pink, red, or clear.

However, an important point must be kept in mind in order to avoid problems in the functioning of your car. The color is prone to change, and this is the indication that you must pay attention to.

A change of color from red, pink, or clear to black or brown is a surefire sign of contamination. It means that the fluid may have become dirty and unfit for use. This usually happens due to prolonged use, and it must be replaced immediately to mitigate the damage.

What does a leaking power steering fluid look like?

Leakage in the car is a serious matter and can leave you utterly frustrated and confused. How do you fix a problem if you can’t tell the source? The fluid could be anything: your auto-transmission fluid, or instead, your power steering fluid!

Most manufactured options are dyed pink or red, so as to be distinguishable from other fluids in the vehicle. Others dye it clear, which usually turns yellow upon long-term use. And the former is likely to change into dark brown or black.

So in case you see a yellow, reddish, pink, brown, or black-ish liquid flowing out, there is a high possibility that it is from the power steering system of your car.

Different colors point to different conditions. Knowing the various indications of each color is a smart step towards identifying the underlying issue, and thus, fixing it.

Let’s take a look at the shades.

Light Brown to Black

This particular shade does not mean trouble for your power steering system every time. Such liquids are found even elsewhere in your car. It may be motor oil, which is normally seen around the center of the car. It could also be lube oil if it’s light brown with a stench similar to that of a rotten egg. These leaks are again found in the center or the rear axle.

Light Yellow to Dark Brown

A yellowish fluid is likely to be the brake fluid more than anything else. So while a leaking yellow liquid means all is well with your steering system, you should probably take a good look at your brakes!

However, brown can be super confusing as it could mean any one of the two: brake fluids or motor oil. The trick is to touch and feel the texture. If it’s slippery, it is the brake fluid; motor oil is much thicker.

Whatever its source, a leak is a serious issue especially when it comes to brakes. Not a matter to be taken lightly, a leaking brake system can wreak havoc on your driving and must be addressed immediately.

Red or Reddish

A reddish shade is possibly the surest sign that your power steering fluid is leaking. They are dyed red or pink precisely to stand apart from the other fluids. But how can you be sure?

To correctly identify the problem, first inspect the location of the leak. A leaking power steering fluid is usually to be found under the front portion of the car.

Secondly, in case of leakage, the fluid may also be smeared across the power steering pump, or below the reservoir. If it feels runny and slippery to touch, you may definitively conclude that it is indeed the power steering liquid.

Orange

A leaking orange fluid could be the transmission fluid, one that is likely to be found around the center of your car. The color is between light orange and dark orange, and may also be reddish-brown.

Sometimes, antifreeze leaks mixed with rust may produce a similar color leading to further confusion. However, that mixture is of a thin consistency and does not have a specific location of leakage.

Yellow, Green, or Pink

Bright colors like these are predominantly used in the water-cooling system. Pink can point to both, the power steering fluid as well as a coolant. You can use the location to guide you, as the latter is found around water-pump bearings and the pump gasket.

Your car’s age is an important factor in deciding whether a coolant leak should be a concern or not. An old vehicle is prone to such leakages and it’s only normal. However, if your car is new and faces such problems, then it’s time to consult an expert.

Clear

A clear liquid could be either the power steering fluid or plain water. Excess condensation can lead your air conditioner to expel some amount of water. But this is not something to worry about.

However, if it indeed is the power steering liquid, that could pose problems. To be sure, do the simplest test and touch it. If it does not feel like water but is slightly sticky, it’s a leakage of the power steering fluid.

Top Three Power Steering Fluids

With that, we have covered the essential information on the color of your power steering fluid. And also for your convenience, we have picked out the top three power steering fluids available in the market. Take a look!

  1. Honda 08206-9002PE Power Steering Fluid Pack of 3

  • For genuine OEM Honda parts
  • Available in 3 and 12 oz bottles
  1. Genuine Honda Fluid 08206-9002 Power Steering Fluid

  • Manufactured for Honda steering systems
  • Fits all Honda models
  • A PSF from a different manufacturer may damage Honda’s power steering systems
  1. Idemitsu PSF Universal Power Steering Fluid for Asian Vehicles

  • Unique friction-free technology for noise-free operation
  • Advanced formula for exceptional performance and protection in severe work conditions
  • Excellent low-temperature performance for protection against cavitation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What color is the Honda Power Steering Fluid?

Although most power steering fluids are dyed red, pink, or clear, the Honda Power Steering Fluid is of a bright golden hue.

  1. What color should a power steering fluid be?

They vary in color, and have a wide variety of hues ranging from brown and red to pink and clear. Black and dark brown are usually indicators of contaminants.

  1. Are there other ways to detect if the fluid is still clean and safe for use?

Apart from color, the smell is the best indicator. A burnt smell usually means there might be a problem with the fluid.

  1. What color is Maxlife Valvoline Power Steering Fluid?

Most fluids from this brand are dyed an amber hue and are not suitable for Honda vehicles. However, they have a stop-leak feature that prevents leakage from the reservoir.

  1. What color is Dexron II Power Steering Fluid?

Power steering fluids from Dexron also double up as auto transmission fluids and are red in color.

Lastly 

Like all the best things in life, a good power steering fluid requires maintenance and care on your part.

To ensure that your car is up and running and that there are no squeaks that go unaccounted for, the power steering fluid must be checked and replaced regularly. Ideally, you should change it every four to five years. Another way would be to switch it up after having driven the car for 50,000 miles.

If you notice a change in color, don’t let it fester. If the fluid turns dirty, brown or black, then it’s probably time to replace it. Keep in mind the brands you use; they make all the difference to efficiency. Reputed brands come with a feature to prevent leakages, thus providing greater safety for both you as well as your car.

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