Accidently Added Brake Fluid to Power Steering

If you accidentally added brake fluid to the power steering reservoir, don't panic!

Power steering fluid and hydraulic fluid have different properties and no car manufacturer recommends mixing the two fluids. One reason is that the power steering fluid is petroleum-based and the brake fluid is glycol-based.

 

Brake fluid can not lubricate or sustain the pressure that the power system requires. If you accidentally add brake fluid to the power steering it is recommended to flush the power steering system immediately and add the recommended power steering fluid. 

According to our certified mechanics and numerous owners' manuals, it is not recommended to mix power steering fluid and brake fluid.

Adding brake fluid to the power steering reservoir can damage the power steering system. Adding brake fluid to the power steering system can damage the power steering pump and seals if it isn't removed promptly. 

Added brake fluid to power steering pump reservoir accidently a little bit

If you add brake fluid to the power steering system, don't start the engine. Instead, use a suction pump or syringe to remove as much fluid as possible from the power steering reservoir.

Fill the power steering reservoir up to the correct level using the recommended power steering fluid for your car. 

Power steering pump

If you have driven for a few hundred miles or have started the engine even after the incident, the brake fluid has mixed with power steering fluid and most likely reached all components of the power steering system.

The recommended repair is to complete a power steering system flush. A mechanic will have to disconnect the return line to the power steering pump and extract all the old fluid then fill it with the correct fluid. A power steering fluid flush is recommended if you added even a small amount of brake fluid to the power steering pump and then started the engine. 

Why should you not mix brake and power steering fluid? 

Brake fluid, when added to the power steering fluid, changes the chemistry of the power steering fluid. Properties of the power steering fluid change can lead to the damage or premature failure of the power steering pump and rack seals.

A small amount of brake fluid added to the power steering reservoir

If you only added a tiny bit of power steering fluid to the brake reservoir, don't panic.

Don't start the engine, or the brake fluid will mix with the power steering fluid. 

Use a syringe or fluid transfer pump to remove all of the fluid from the power steering reservoir. 

Then add the correct power steering fluid to the power steering reservoir. 

Should I take my car to the dealer if I added brake fluid to the power steering fluid reservoir? 

If you added brake fluid to the power steering reservoir and your car is under warranty, we recommend to not take the vehicle to the dealer to fix the issue. Instead, take the vehicle to an independent car shop and have them fix the problem. 

The reason why you shouldn't take the car to the dealer if it is under warranty: 

  • The dealer may record this incident which can void your vehicle warranty. 
  • Even if the vehicle is under warranty, you will still pay for this service. 
  • Any reputable and honest repair shop will be able to complete flush your power steering system at a lower cost than the dealership.  

Can you substitute power steering fluid with brake fluid? 

No. Only use the recommended power steering fluid recommended by the manufacturer. Do not power steering fluid with brake fluid, or you will damage the steering system in your car. 


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Accidently Added Brake Fluid to Power Steering Brake fluid can not lubricate or sustain the pressure that the power system requires. If you accidentally add brake fluid to the power steering it is recommended to flush the power steering system immediately and add the recommended power steering fluid.