dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
74870
share rss forum feed

TherapyChick

join:2003-09-19
Fayetteville, NC

Is DOT 3 brake fluid the same as power steering fluid?

Is DOT 3 brake fluid the same as power steering fluid?

I thought I heard that at some time. I need some power steering fluid for my wife's 96 Altima, don't have any, but I do have some DOT 3 brake fluid.

Can I use that?

Cheezz

join:2003-10-17
NO!!!! don't do it..

TherapyChick

join:2003-09-19
Fayetteville, NC
What is it I'm thinking of that is the same then.. brake and transmission fluid?


McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2
Some vehicles use transmission fluid in the power steering. Maybe that's what's got you confused.

TherapyChick

join:2003-09-19
Fayetteville, NC
OK - thanks guys, wanted to double check before I did anything stupid!


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
reply to TherapyChick
Check your owner's manual.

Some vehicles use ATF as power steering fluid, some do not.
--
Striving for Parfection.


neonhomer
KK4BFN
Premium
join:2004-01-27
Edgewater, FL
reply to TherapyChick
Check your owners manual. It will tell you what fluid you need.


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to TherapyChick
said by TherapyChick:

Is DOT 3 brake fluid the same as power steering fluid?

I thought I heard that at some time. I need some power steering fluid for my wife's 96 Altima, don't have any, but I do have some DOT 3 brake fluid.

Can I use that?
NO as others have posted. DOT 3 Brake Fluid is for use in Brakes and Clutch Master Cylinders and only when properly marked on the Cap/Cover of the reservoir. No where else.

ATF used to be used in Power Steering many Years ago, but it is very high in detergents where Modern Power Steering fluid is not so do not substitute ATF for Power Steering either (unless the cap says to use ATF then don't). Only use what is specified by the vehicles Owner's Manual or on the cap of the Power Steering reservoir.

Regards,

Doctor Olds
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?


Jim Gurd
Premium
join:2000-07-08
Livonia, MI
said by Doctor Olds:

ATF used to be used in Power Steering many Years ago, but it is very high in detergents where Modern Power Steering fluid is not so do not substitute ATF for Power Steering either (unless the cap says to use ATF then don't).
Why would detergents be bad in power steering systems? Under proper operating circumstances it should never get dirty to begin with.

Both of my vehicles call for ATF in the power steering. It's much cheaper per quart than what is labeled as "power steering fluid".
--
Calling an illegal alien an undocumented worker is like calling a crack dealer an unlicensed pharmacist.


wenter99
Alpha Male
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Albuquerque, NM

1 edit
said by Jim Gurd:

Both of my vehicles call for ATF in the power steering. It's much cheaper per quart than what is labeled as "power steering fluid".
ATF is the same high quality, highly refined petroleum product with different additives than power steering fluids. Any type of ATF is generally better than it has to be for use in power steering systems and won't hurt a thing.
--
Terry

"Sometimes all you can do is just hunker down and take it, like a jackass caught out in a hail storm". LBJ


Anonuser

join:2003-01-03
Milwaukee, WI
reply to TherapyChick
My 2002 Xterra uses ATF for PowerSteering. What is the color of the Power Steering fluid in your wife's Altima?
If it is a red color, chances are it's ATF.

----After doing some searching, I'm finding references to the 96 Altima running ATF as the Power Steering Fluid.

Nissan uses a properity fluid called "Nissan Matic D", however, you can substitute Matic D with regular Dexron/Mercon fluid.

Still check your owners manual.
--
»KmanScooters.com Home of Wisconsin's Most Affordable Cars, Motorcycles and Scooters


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to Jim Gurd
said by Jim Gurd:

said by Doctor Olds:

ATF used to be used in Power Steering many Years ago, but it is very high in detergents where Modern Power Steering fluid is not so do not substitute ATF for Power Steering either (unless the cap says to use ATF then don't).
Why would detergents be bad in power steering systems? Under proper operating circumstances it should never get dirty to begin with.

Both of my vehicles call for ATF in the power steering. It's much cheaper per quart than what is labeled as "power steering fluid".
It does get dirty and when you add detergents to a system with built up varnish, carbon and deposited metals that the old non-detergent PS Fluid has deposited/collected over time in crooks/crevices and bottom of the reservoir are now getting washed/cleaned up and suspended in the ATF by the detergent action. The detergent additives clean up that sludge and metallic debris which has aluminum particles plus carbon particles and it suspends them in the fluid that is being run through the system where there is no filtering to remove the now abrasive fluid mix. Its almost like adding sand/silica to the fluid and since there is no filter in the P/S System like a automatic transmission has to catch the particles there in nothing stopping them from getting to the pump wearing it and the steering gear or steering rack out early.

Also the detergent additives will affect some seals compounds that have only seen non-detergent fluids before. This can lead to leaks in the system.

Now if your system says use ATF, this is not an issue for you as you are using the recommended fluid, but if you put ATF in a system that calls for 10W Non-detergent Power Steering hydraulic oil and there is age on the system, you are inviting troubles down the road sooner than later. Just like with an old transmission with burnt fluid and debris in the pan, you don't always get good results by changing it all to fresh fluid as that renewed detergent additive levels sometimes brings on the transmission failure as the fresh fluid cleans all debris and packed materials from the clutches that may have been allowing it to function, so now it slips or doesn't engage at all or sometimes right after the change it starts leaking or slipping or both.

Bottom Line: If you use what is recommended for your vehicle then you should not have any issues.

The same applies to older lawnmowers that did not use detergent oil and when people later on decided to put detergent oil in their old mower they find it now burns oil where it didn't before and they may have leaks and other issues since all the deposits left in the engine by the non-detergent oil are getting picked up and circulated through the engine, which like PS has no filter to remove these "suspended in the detergent" particles which increase wear plus can cause seals to sometimes leak and can cause consumption to increase.

The detergent is made to suspend the contaminants in the fluid instead of dropping them around the areas where it can build up and is made for systems that have filters or frequent changes in order to get the suspended contaminants out. Non-detergent oils (Engine, Transmission, Power Steering or general Hydraulic) are designed for non-filter applications and over the years they have replaced those with detergent oils with advanced additives.

These articles below explain the difference in regard to engine oils, but the principles all apply to PS and even Transmission oils and fluids.

»www.mafca.com/TQ-oil.html
quote:
If your engine has been using a non-detergent oil, you may have a build up of oil deposits and sludge in the engine. The detergent oil will in time clean all (or most) of the deposits and sludge from the engine and you will end up with a much cleaner engine. The detergent oil will suspend the deposits and sludge in the oil. When the oil is drained, the deposits and sludge are drained with the oil. A non-detergent oil works opposite. Sludge and other deposits are not suspended in the oil and settle to the bottom of the pan and collect around the rings. When the oil is drained there still remains oil sludge in the pan and around the rings.

The affect of using detergent oil in a dirty engine is it will give you a much cleaner engine after a couple of oil changes. It will also clean the deposits around the rings. If the engine has a lot of wear, the deposits are probably taking up a lot of the wear space. When the deposits are cleaned away with the detergent oil, you may start using or burning more oil because of the added clearances obtained from a cleaned engine.
»imperialclub.org/Repair/Engine/additives.htm
quote:
Detergent versus Non-Detergent:

"...DETERGENT/NONDETERGENT- Detergent additives are just surfactants which lower the surface tension and allow small particles to remain in suspension more easily. This is to transfer contaminates to the filter so they can be removed. You do not want deposits to form throughout the engine because that makes them hard to remove and insulates the passages so that the oil can't remove and equalize the heat. The base viscosity is increased somewhat by other additives to compensate for lower surface tension. Back when overhaul intervals were shorter, The deposits would get cleaned up periodically before they got too bad. I wouldn't use nondetergent in an engine with modern parts...."

The article continues;

"....One problem you can have as mentioned by others is adding detergent oil to an engine that has a huge amount of deposits in it. As the detergent softens these deposits, there is a risk of a chunk coming loose and blocking something. The risk is real but then if you have this much stuff in there, you have a time bomb waiting to go off anyway because a big temperature swing can trigger the same thing. The right answer is to tear it down and clean it up. My answer is to run detergent oil, at moderate load, and change oil and filter frequently for 3 or 4 changes and hope for the best...."

If you read what's at this link you will find some support for keeping same/same, but it still really depends on the interior condition of the engine in question. Having now become an "OLD TIMER" in the car biz, I have run into this question a lot, and I think this page/link above does a fair job in explaining a lot of oil issues. The "state of the art" in oil and engine development went hand in hand, but engines built without oil filters, as many were, could not benefit from detergent oil. In fact keeping all that carbon in suspension actually did harm and shortened engine life. Most car makers whose engines used oil filters recommended detergent oil, except for an early few that used live rubber seals as the detergent softens/swells and causes premature seal failure. Once an engine has been rebuilt using current materials (in use since at least the mid 50's) detergent oil is only an issue if you have no filter.
You are changing the Power Steering Fluid in your car as it is outlined in the Owners Manual for the recommended service intervals, right? It does get dirty and contaminated, plus the fluid is broken down by the constant shearing action from the pump which degrades/breaks down the anti-wear additives which causes it to lose the ability to lubricate. Basically the fluid wears out and is very often neglected past its operating life.

»auto.howstuffworks.com/steering4.htm

»www.automedia.com/Power_Steering···0601ps/1

»cars.cartalk.com/content/advice/···ing.html

»fourwheeler.automotive.com/20151···dex.html

»www.hillmuth.com/ServiceTips.asp···Steering
quote:
Power Steering Flush- Recommended every two years or every 30,000 miles

Most people at one time or another have encountered a power steering problem with a power steering pump, hoses, gearbox or rack and pinion. Failures could be anything from noise, leaks or stiffness when first starting the car. Power steering fluid is designed for power steering systems, different manufacturers sometimes require different fluids. Power steering fluid turns dark because of heat created by the high pressure within the power steering system. Power steering will become very hot under load and start to breakdown causing electrochemical degradation. Once this process starts your power steering pump and rack and pinion begin to clog with sludge and varnish deposits. The sludge and varnish can cause stiffness, leaks or complete system failures. A power steering fluid flush service safely removes varnish and/or sludge deposits and cleans all internal power steering components, including the power steering hoses, power steering pump, rack and pinion and or gear box. This service is also the best way to remove metals that slowly grind away on your power steering internal components. Your car's power steering is thoroughly cleaned and protected with fresh power steering fluid and conditioners that revitalize the seals and 0-rings in your power steering system. When your car's power steering system shows signs of contaminated fluid, noise, stiffness, rough or hard turning, a power steering flush is strongly suggested. Neglecting to perform this service could lead to major repair work or the need for replacement of very expensive power steering components.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?