What color should power steering fluid be!

Power steering fluid is momentous for the power steering mechanism. It is simply a hydraulic liquid that helps in the easy and smooth transmission of power from the wheel to the steering mechanism of the car.

 Moreover, lubrication is usually ensured by these kinds of oils. So, power steering fluid plays a role there as well. Thus, the health of this fluid is very important, and you should take care of it. One way to know about this health is by checking the color of the fluid.

In this session, I will take you over to the comprehensive guide about what color should power steering fluid be. So, without further ado, let’s get right in!

Types of Power Steering Fluid

The types of power steering fluid are important to know before getting into the color details. You have to consider a lot of factors before going for a power steering fluid. Remember that there can be universal as well as specific fluids. It depends on what the manufacturer has recommended.

Here are the 3 main types for you!

Types of Power Steering Fluid

Mineral Fluid

The fluid gained from petroleum after refining and fractional distillation procedures lie in this category. These fluids are economical and have no aggressive impact on rubber elements.

Semi-Synthetic Fluid

When we have a combination of mineral as well as synthetic fluid, we get the semi-synthetic fluid in the result. As far as the properties of these fluids are concerned, they have low viscosity, good lubricity, and fairly good resistance against foam formation. But they have a destructive impact on the rubber elements.

Synthetic Fluid

These are the ideal fluids for your power steering systems. If the manufacturer is recommending it, then you should look no further. Moreover, it includes some special additives to make it flow smoothly at low temperatures as well.

Ideal Power Steering Fluid Color

There is a variety of hues and it varies from model to model. The most common types of colors that you will find are red, pink, and clear. Well, this aspect also depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation, but remember the color of the fluid that you filled in the container. If the current color of the oil during the inspection is similar to the initial condition, then this is also an ideal case.

So, the color plays a pretty good role because if it is way different from the original color, then it is time to replace it or do something about it. Like, if the color changes from originally pink, red, or clear to brown or black, that indicates contamination. Thus, to avoid any further bad consequences, it is better to give it any attention.

Ideal Power Steering Fluid Color

Leaking Power Steering Fluid Color

Imagine you look under your car and there is some oil spilled. Well, this is a pretty alarming and stressful indication. The oil spillage can be due to a number of reasons. So, it is pretty important to identify the oil in order to reach the root cause.

If we talk about the usual trends, the oils with pink or red color turn into brown or black. While the clear dye turns yellow after long-term usage.

Leaking Power Steering Fluid Color

Popular Color Shades

Here are some popular color shades that indicate various conditions. So, if you know about the shades corresponding to the conditions, it will not be difficult for you to reach the remedy.

Light Brown or Black

This kind of oil is not a problem generally and it is quite common as well. You will find this color under the center of your car. It can be motor oil or lube oil. So, do not worry about it if you see it under your car.

Light Brown or Black

Light Yellow to Dark Brown

This kind of color (yellow) is usually a sign of brake oil leakage. So, if you see such kind of oil under your car, that ensures that you do not have to worry about the power steering mechanism. It would be perfectly fine, but you should get the brake system inspected.

Now, when it comes to brown, you know that it was motor oil as well. Here we judge with the help of oil density and texture. If it is slippery, we have brake fluid, while it is motor oil when thicker.

Red and Reddish

  • If you observe reddish oil, that is certainly steering fluid oil. Because if you go back to the dyes of steering fluids, we find reddish or pink shades as well. But remember that it is not necessarily steering fluid oil.
  • In that scenario, it is suggested that you look at the leakage spot. If you find any leakage point in the steering fluid mechanism, then do not wait any longer get it inspected by some professional.
  • Remember that if there was any leakage, it would be grubby around the steering pump. You can check it by touching the pump. If it is slippery, then it is certainly the steering fluid oil.

Yellow, Green, or Pink

These colors are usually found in coolants and water-cooling systems. You can have a coolant as well as a steering fluid in pink color. But the leakage will definitely be from the source and you can have the idea by tracing it.

So, look closely to observe whether it is coolant leakage or steering fluid leakage. 

Yellow, Green, or Pink


It is usually the color of the transmission fluid. If we talk about the shades of this color, you may see light orange, dark orange, and reddish-brown. Remember that anti-freezers can also give a similar color after mixing with the rust. Tracing the location of the leakage can be a lifesaver in that scenario.


Now in this scenario, you have to compare the fluid with water. Because what is spilled can be water or steering fluid oil. Water leakage is not a big issue as it can be due to condensation as well. You can touch it find out whether it is oil or water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions to answer your general queries.

1. Why does my power steering fluid smell like burnt marshmallows?

If your power steering hose has a leak, that can lead to the dripping of the fluid. You will see the color as I mentioned above. It smells usually like burnt marshmallows. These fluids can also smell like engine oil.

2. How to know if the power steering fluid is clear or brown?

The color of the fluid tank will explain it all. If the color of the tank seems light, that means it is a clear fluid inside. On the other hand, if the tank feels dark, then it is brown.

3. How to know if the power steering fluid is bad?

The fluid will look dirty. There will be contaminants that you could see pretty clearly. Moreover, with time the color of the fluid changes due to constant usage.

4. How long does a steering fluid last?

A power steering fluid has a pretty good life if maintained well. If you take care of the steering fluid and keep it from the contaminants, it will last for longer than your expectations. 

5. What should the power steering fluid look like?

Power steering fluid plays the main role in the smooth processing of the power steering mechanism. The color of the fluid is usually found in 3 shades. It is amber, pink, or clear. ATF can also be used (as recommended by some manufacturers). This fluid is usually red in color.

6. Does it matter what power steering fluid you use?

It is better if you follow the instructions of the manufacturer here. Because the operating conditions are usually in accordance with the fluid. So, a different fluid can cause problems. There can be wear & tear and other problems.

7. How often should the power steering fluid be changed?

The one-time filling can last for around 50,000 miles. That means you will get around 2 years after filling the fluid for once. If everything goes well and take care of the system, you will have to replace the oil after two years. So, it is a good deal.

8. Can I change the power steering oil myself? 

It is not about just changing the oil. Rather there flushing is required quite often. That is why you should get it done by some expert.

Wrapping Up

The color of the fluids used for transmission and lubrication purposes is very important. Moreover, the color of the power steering fluid also has good significance. Having a good knowledge of the color of the fluid can help you identify problems and reach the solution quite efficiently. Thus, keep all the information in mind because I have tried to equip you fully with the power steering fluid oil. 

So, whenever you find anything suspicious, you should quickly inspect to see the root cause. Then you can get the appropriate maintenance of the steering system.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *