Checking what color your power steering fluid is can tell you a lot about your power steering fluid status and whether it needs to be changed.
Healthy power steering fluid is either clear, pink, or red in color.
Brown or black power steering fluid is unhealthy and represents contamination.
This article will go over everything you need to know about power steering fluid color, including what color this liquid should ideally be and what other colors mean.
Table of Contents
What Color Should Power Steering Fluid Be?
Power steering fluid can is pink or red in color.
The exact shade of your fluid depends upon the manufacturer, but healthy power steering fluids will lie within this limited color range.
Power steering fluid most commonly turns brown or black over time.
This is a result of contamination and overuse.
If your power steering fluid has turned either color, know that it’s time to change it.
Over time, some drivers may notice their power steering fluid turn milky or foamy white, hence deviating from its clear, red, or pink setpoint.
This happens when water or air gets trapped within the fluid, thus tampering with its chemistry and causing change.
Power steering fluid can also become yellow over time, though this is rare.
The fluid is prone to turning yellow when it comes into contact with your car’s coolant fluid.
Manufacturers may choose to keep the fluid clear or dye it pink or red.
Coloring the power steering fluid helps set it apart from other fluids employed by your car’s internal system, making it easy to identify, mainly when leaks occur.
What Color is Power Steering Fluid When it Leaks?
Power steering fluid can be any of the following when it leaks: clear, pink, red, yellowish, milky or foamy, brown, or black.
Each of these colors means different things, but the rule of thumb demands you change the fluid once it deviates from being clear, pink, or red.
What Does Brown Power Steering Fluid Mean?
Brown power steering fluid signifies the end of your fluid’s life.
If you let it dally for too long, this brown liquid will change to an alarming black shade.
Power steering fluid turns brown or black due to contamination, which occurs over time.
Contamination may result from worn hoses that may shed bits of rubber into the fluid from aluminum residue.
The easiest way to overcome this is by replacing your old, contaminated fluid with new fluid.
However, suppose the power steering fluid is changing color too soon (for example, within one week of changing it).
In that case, it may be time to invest in a new hose, or else the fluid will keep on turning brown too soon no matter how many times you change it.
Contamination due to aluminum later occurs naturally over time due to the fluid coming into contact with your car’s rack and pinion too many times.
The rack and pinion contain aluminum, which always passes on into the liquid over time and is no cause for concern.
However, as a result of this contact, the fluid will become laden with aluminum until its texture becomes non-ideal.
When this happens, you’ll notice a dark brown sludgy liquid that requires refreshing.
Remember, once your power steering fluid deviates from the pinkish-red range, the darker it gets, the worse it is for your car.
Lighter brown fluid may afford you some time before you change it, but dark brown or black fluid means that your car cannot, or should not, wait any longer for the change.
Does the Color of Power Steering Fluid Matter?
Yes, the color of the power steering fluid is of great importance because it helps us understand whether or not the fluid is in good condition.
A deviation from the healthy or normal color range means that the fluid has been contaminated and requires changing.
Paying attention to the color that your fluid has changed to can tell you a great deal about your car’s overall condition.
It can help you weed out any problems within your vehicle and focus on solving them.
For example, if your power steering fluid has gained a yellow tint, it suggests that your car’s cooling fluid is leaking into the power steering section-it may be time to call up the mechanic or, at the very least, invest in some fresh power steering fluid!
So the color of the power steering fluid can vary, but in general power steering fluid is pink, or red in color to make it easier to distinguish from other leaks and fluid.
If you are ever unsure about a leak in your vehicle; call into your local mechanic or car dealership to get it checked out.