Red Power Steering Fluid: Is That Okay? (Explained!)

Modern vehicles nowadays are equipped with power steering. It provides protection and keeps your steering mechanism smooth. Let us learn more about it.

So is a red power steering fluid okay? Yes, it is okay to have a red power steering fluid. It is the primary color of a power steering fluid to be distinguished from other fluids in the vehicle.

There are a lot of fluids in your vehicle and each of these fluids have their functions and contributions to the overall performance of all vehicles. As a car driver, you should be able to know how a red power steering fluid is good for your vehicle. It is not safe to put any fluid in your vehicle without knowing its effect on your vehicle.

Thus, it is essential to understand the proper color of a power steering fluid because failure to use the appropriate fluid may damage your vehicle. Colors also indicate the condition of your vehicle. So you should be able to know the proper and correct color of your power steering fluid.

So, is the color red power steering fluid, okay? Here’s what you must be aware of about the color of your power steering fluid.

Red Power Steering Fluid

What Is A Red Power Steering Fluid?

The red power steering fluid is thin, inconsistent with an oily feel. It could smell like a burnt marshmallow. This fluid creates a hydraulic link between the steering wheel and the front wheels. It reduces the amount of effort needed to turn the wheels.

Also, it helps maintain the steering system’s moving parts. It reduces foaming and protects the power steering gear and steering pump, allowing vehicles to run at peak performance.

If you do not use this fluid in your vehicle, you will likely experience severe issues with your navigation pump or the entire mechanism.

Most manufacturers use either red or pink power steering fluid to distinguish it from other fluids. However, colors other than red are not commonly used in the market.

That is why if you have noticed a red color fluid in your car, there is an excellent chance that your power steering fluid will leak.

Is It Normal To Have Red Power Steering Fluid?

Yes, it is normal to have a red power steering fluid. It is the primary color of a power steering fluid to be distinguished from other fluids in the vehicle.

Say, for instance, when your power steering leaks, you may notice a red color. Thus, knowing what fluid has leaked in your car will be easier.

The dilemma of this only is that it may be difficult for you to determine whether the fluid leaking from your vehicle onto your garage floor is power steering fluid or coolant (if your coolant is red, too).

Only one way to know for sure is to check for the power steering reservoir in your engine and see if fluid is leaking from beneath it or from the radiator.

In addition, having a red power steering fluid could signify that it is not contaminated yet nor needs to be changed.

You need to start worrying if your power steering fluid changes its color from red turning into foamy, yellowing, or dark brown. These color changes could mean damage to your vehicle’s system or worse.

The color may fade to black or dark brown as the vehicle moves. It could imply that the fluid has become tainted or dirty. If the fluid has been used for an extended period, it is best to replace it with clean fluid.

Is There A Difference Between Red And Clear Power Steering Fluid?

Red power steering fluid is commonly used in the market. However, some other brands use a transparent color instead of red or pink. These are the primary colors of uncontaminated power steering fluid.

There are no significant differences among the two except for their color. The only thing is that the red color power steering fluid will be easier for you to detect if there’s a leak or none. Also, you can determine right away what fluid has leaked.

An apparent power steering fluid may confuse water that dripped. Also, sometimes the air conditioner can malfunction and break down over time, leading to excess condensation and moisture escaping.

Same scenarios also to the red steering fluid if your coolant is red. It might get you confused about which fluid leaked.

Nonetheless, both colors function the same and are considered standard for a new power steering fluid.

Can I Use A Red Power Steering Fluid Instead Of Green?

Take note that not all power steering fluid is the same. Thus, using a red power steering fluid works differently from the green one, also depending on the type of your vehicle.

It is not recommended to mix red power steering fluid with green or vice versa. Fluids with vibrant colors, such as green, are classified for your vehicle’s water-cooling systems.

The suitable steering fluid for a vehicle depends on its model and owner’s manual. So before you put in the new steering fluid, you need to know the one there earlier.


In summary, power steering fluid, like all fluids in your vehicle, serves an essential and specific part in keeping your vehicle running at optimum performance. In addition, this fluid is essential for ensuring hydraulic assistance to its namesake mechanism, allowing you to turn your car’s steering wheel quickly.

Also, it helps in the lubrication of the power steering pump and steering components. The power steering fluid even protects against deterioration. 

Since this fluid provides so many multiple functions, it’s self-evident why it’s critical to use the appropriate kind.

Suppose you’re not using power steering fluid in your vehicle. In that case, you are more likely to experience significant problems with your fuel system, navigation pump, or other vital systems of your vehicle, which could lead to an accident if not proper care is taken for and managed to maintain.

There is no single universal rule for power steering fluids for cars. Instead, evaluate your owner’s manual, initiate some online research, or check with the service department at your car dealer to guarantee that the fluids you’re using are suitable for your vehicle.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more