Best Power Steering Fluids: Great Choices for Operation and Protection

A good power steering fluid can keep your car driving smoothly

Best Overall

Lucas Oil 10442 Power Steering Fluid

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Best Value

Prestone AS261 Power Steering Fluid

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Honorable Mention

Royal Purple ROY01326 MAX EZ Power Steering Fluid

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One of the best technologies added to vehicles over the years is hydraulic power steering. In order to maintain an easy and painless driving experience, this system needs regular care and upkeep. Otherwise, it could either be awkward or hard to turn the wheel. Power steering fluid is a formulated hydraulic fluid that keeps your steering working and can even protect your car.

Hydraulic power steering has largely given way to electric power steering, so it’s rarely used in new cars. But there are still plenty of cars on the road that utilize it. Here are our top picks for the best power steering fluid you can buy.

Summary List

Best Power Steering Fluids: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall

Lucas Oil Power Steering Fluid

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Best Value

Prestone AS261 Power Steering Fluid

See It

Honorable Mention

Royal Purple MAX EZ Power Steering Fluid

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Honorable Mention

Liqui Moly Central Hydraulic System Oil

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Honorable Mention

Red Line Power Steering Fluid

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Our Verdict on the Best Power Steering Fluids

For a great universal power steering fluid, go for the Lucas Oil 10442 Power Steering Fluid for its protective features and car compatibility. 

For a better price-per-ounce value, Prestone’s AS261 Power Steering Fluid offers a great solution at a fraction of the price. 

FAQs

Q: Does power steering fluid go bad?

A: The answer is yes, eventually. While everything has a shelf life, power steering fluid can last a very long time if kept sealed and clear of contaminants. You can see a change in color when the solution has spoiled or degraded.

Q: What should I consider when buying and using power steering fluid?

A: Compatibility: If you opt for a third-party fluid, it’s essential to know which vehicles the fluid was created for. Every bottle will tell you what manufacturers the fluid can be used with. It’s important not to ignore these directions because each car has its own unique power steering needs.

Longevity: One factor in deciding which power steering fluid is best for you is how long the steering oil will last. Some products are made to protect the steering system while keeping it properly lubricated. These oils may have shorter life spans compared to fluids that don’t have protective agents. 

Transmission Fluid: Be aware of any power steering fluids that claim to also work with transmissions and brakes. While transmission fluid and brake fluid have similar qualities to power steering fluid, each product is specially designed for its respective system. Using automatic transmission fluid instead of power steering fluid can damage certain components.

Q: What are some tips for buying and using power steering fluid?

A: A general rule of thumb for replacing your power steering fluid is to do it every 50,000 miles. If your vehicle has a recommended mileage in the owner’s manual, it’s best to follow those instructions.

You can also check the level of your power steering fluid every time you change the oil. If it’s low, a simple top-off is good enough.

In order to pour in power steering fluid, you have to find the reservoir in the engine bay. The cap will signify that it is for power steering, but checking your owner’s manual will help if you’re unsure.

You should clean around the opening of the power steering reservoir before removing the cap in order to help prevent any contaminants from falling inside. 

Some key signs that you need power steering fluid include noisy steering, jumps, jerking, or if it is just difficult to turn the wheel in general.

If your vehicle is leaking power steering fluid, you can try steering oil that includes stop leak to try and fix the issue.

Q: What should I expect to pay for power steering fluid?

A: Less than $15: Containers of 8- and 12-ounce power steering fluid are typically sold for under $15. OEM fluids are going to be at the higher end of the range, while third-party fluids will be closer to $5 (depending on size). These smaller containers are good for topping off your power steering fluid.

More than $15: The higher price range of power steering fluid will typically be for full-gallon containers and packs of 12-ounce containers. While steering wheel fluid cost will depend on brand and quantity, you’ll save money on overall dollars-per-ounce when buying in bulk. Also, if you’re flushing the entire system, you’ll need a higher quantity of fluid to refill it.

Q: What does flushing the power steering mean?

A: The term “flush” means removing all the fluid that is currently in the system and then replacing it with new power steering fluid.

Q: Can I just top off my power steering fluid?

A: Generally speaking, yes. Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t be losing power steering fluid too quickly. If you need to top off your system often, there may be a leak. Also, overfilling the system can cause leaks.

Q: Do I have to use a factory power steering fluid?

A: No, you can choose to use a third-party power steering fluid. Just make sure whatever brand you pick is compatible with your vehicle. 

Q: How do I check my power steering fluid?

A: Some power steering fluid reservoirs are clear, so you can visually check the power steering fluid level. Others come with a dipstick to check the levels.