Power Steering Fluids Colors: What Does It Mean?

There are many types of fluids that your vehicle uses to provide the necessary lubrication. Power steering is not an exception. It also contains fluid, making it difficult to determine what’s leaking if something is dripping under the car. How do you know what each color of power steering fluid means?

We will be discussing the various colors of power steering fluid and any leaks that you may see in this guide. This guide also covers the basic concepts of power steering fluid. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. Power Steering Fluid Colors
    1. 1. Red/Pink
    2. 2. Green
    3. 3. Clear
    4. 4. Brown/Black
    5. 5. Yellow
    6. 6. Milky/Foamy
  2. There are many types of power steering fluids
    1. Universal
    2. Mineral 
    3. Semi-Synthetic
    4. Synthetic
  3. How do you replace power steering fluid?
  4. Power Steering Fluid FAQs
    1. Is it important to choose the right color for power steering fluid?
    2. Which color is dirty power steering fluid
    3. What color is the transmission or power steering fluid?
    4. You can mix power steering fluid in red and green.

Power Steering Fluid Colors

The power steering fluid, depending upon the vehicle model, will usually be pink, green or red. There are times when it could also be clear, but that’s rare. If you notice any other color, it may mean that the power steering fluid is contaminated or there’s another problem to be addressed. 

This is a detailed listing of power steering fluid colors.

1. Red/Pink

This is what your power steering fluid should look like on most cars. Today’s power steering fluids are dyed red, with some leaning toward having a pink hue.

You can see red fluid leaking from your car if you examine it under. This could either be power steering fluid or automatic transmission fluid. Both systems use the same fluid. However, you will still want to look at the leak’s location. If it is coming from the front of the vehicle, near the engine, it’s probably power steering fluid.

2. Green

The older power steering fluid was reddish or pink. You can find modern power steering fluid in many cars. Most green power steering fluid can be found in European brands such as Audi and Volkswagen.

In most cases this green power steering liquid is not the same as the red power steering oil and should not mixed. Because of its lower viscosity, the green fluid can be used in colder environments. Use power steering fluid according to the manufacturer's specifications in order to avoid damage.

3. Clear

The power steering fluid starts off as clear, before being dyed pink or red. The fluid will be clear before it is processed. Some fluid manufacturers like to keep the fluid clear as the dyes could affect how it runs. 

Yet, it’s very difficult to tell what’s leaking if the fluid is clear. It can easily be confused with the water that’s coming from the air conditioning system, although the power steering fluid has a slippery texture. 

4. Brown/Black

The power steering fluid should not be made from black or brown. Engine oil is the only fluid naturally amber or brown. Oil that has been contaminated turns to black. Power steering fluid can also turn black if it is not checked.

Although you may pour new red fluid in your car after replacing it with another one, eventually the fluid will become contaminated by dirt and debris. The fluid will turn brownish or black as a result.

It is important to replace your power steering fluid if the color of the oil has changed. The fluid should be flushed out and replaced with some that’s new. The dirty fluid isn’t going to work the same way as fresh fluid and it could lead to the failure of the necessary components.

RELATED: Can You Use Brake Fluid As Power Steering Fluid?

5. Yellow

If you notice a yellow hue to the power steering fluid, it doesn’t mean that it’s been contaminated with dirt. However, it shouldn’t ever be yellow either.

The coolant probably got mixed into the power steering fluid in some way. It doesn’t matter how it happened or what went wrong, all you need to know is that it should be flushed and replaced to ensure the safety of the system. 

Some power steering fluid manufacturers make yellow fluid. This may be an indication that there is nothing wrong, but it should be checked further.

6. Milky/Foamy

Of all the colors that your power steering fluid can be, you don’t want to see anything milky or foamy about it. This is a sign that moisture or air has become trapped within the fluid. Instead of it having its natural slippery feel, it’s going to be slimy.

If this happens, you should act immediately. You need to get rid of the air that has become trapped within the system. Untreated, the fluid could cause your steering to make unusual sounds and may not work properly. It is possible to remove the fluid from the system and refill it with new fluid. 

RELATED: 6 Signs of a Bad Power Steering Pump (& Replacement Cost)

There are many types of power steering fluids


Universal power steering fluid can be used with many systems. Just because it’s called universal, though, doesn’t mean you should use it in your car. Your first step is to verify the compatibility using manufacturer guidelines.

Although the universal power steering fluid might not offer all of the benefits or additives that other fluids, it may still have some advantages. However, it will still reduce the friction of the internal parts, thereby protecting everything that’s critical. 


The mineral power steering fluid is made with refined petroleum and other special additives. The oil's performance will be improved by this combination. You can protect rubber parts that are dependent on lubrication by using this fluid.

This is the most affordable of all the options. It needs to be replaced more often and can foam easily. 


The semi-synthetic engine steering fluid combines many of the advantages of the natural formulation but with additional features. With the lower viscosity degree and ability to lubricate, there’s less of a chance of foaming.

They can cause damage to rubber due to the addition of special additives. You should be cautious if the fluid you're using has both petroleum and synthetic properties. 


Manufacturers recommend synthetic fluid as a choice for new vehicles. They still contain some petroleum components, but they also have unique additives that enhance them. This type of power steering fluid is able to have less impact on the rubber parts than some other formulations and it isn’t known to foam as easily. You can also use it in many situations.

With the synthetic power steering fluid, you won’t need to flush the system as often. It’s meant to last as long as possible, which is why most luxury automakers recommend using this type of fluid. You should ensure that the fluid you select meets ISO 7308 or DN51 524T3 standards. 

RELATED: 3 Different Power Steering Fluid Types (& How to Change)

How do you replace power steering fluid?

Is it possible to change the power steering fluid yourself? If you have some mechanical expertise and the right equipment, it’s not difficult to flush the fluid and replace it with new fluid. Before you start, make sure to read the manual and get the proper formulation.

Any steps that you see in the manual should be followed. These are general guidelines that you may be able follow for reference.

  1. Get your first supplies. You need the correct fluid, and the proper tools for the job. You don’t want to stop in the middle of the job to go get more equipment.
  2. Locate the power steering reservoir. It’s under the hood, usually on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
  3. To access the underside of your car, lift the front portion. Securely place the car on jack stands.
  4. Take the hose out of the reservoir. Place a container beneath the system for fluid drainage. All of the fluid should be allowed to drain.
  5. You can turn the steering column from one side to the other until you feel the fluid running dry. 
  6. Close the system so the new fluid won’t drain out.
  7. Fill the reservoir up with fluid using a funnel. 
  8. To check the level of the fuel, lower the vehicle down to the ground. It may be necessary to fill it slightly again after the engine has been started. 
  9. Reverse the direction of the steering wheel, turning it fully to the left and right. Also keep an eye on how much power is remaining in the fluid. When necessary, refill.
  10. Take the car for a test drive, and pay attention to the feeling of the steering wheel.

For more assistance, contact a mechanic in your area if you have any problems.

Power Steering Fluid FAQs

Is it important to choose the right color for power steering fluid?

It does not matter what color the power steering fluid is. It is not compatible with green power steering fluid if the car you have uses red power fluid. However, different brands have different colours for the same fluid so you can make sure that the right one is used with your car.

Which color is dirty power steering fluid

A bad or dirty power steering oil will make it darker than its original color. Many power steering fluids are originally red or green, so if the color of your power steering fluid is dark red, brown, dark green, or black, it’s definitely time to replace the power steering fluid.

What color is the transmission or power steering fluid?

The transmission fluid as well as the power steering fluid can be red. In many cars, the transmission fluid and power steering fluid can be combined. It is vital to verify the specifics of each car model.

You can mix power steering fluid in red and green.

It is not a good idea to mix red and green power steering liquids. The viscosity of green power steering fluid is usually lower and better suited to colder climates. These fluids are often different. Use only power steering fluid with the correct specifications.

RELATED: Hydraulic vs Electric Power Steering – Differences, Pros & Cons

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