Milky Power Steering Fluid: Causes, Effects & Solutions 

By: Saiful Islam | April 8, 2022

A concerned driver like you checks the car’s steering fluid monthly. Power steering fluid keeps the steering mechanism smooth. The primary color of this hydraulic fluid is red or pink. What if you found your power steering fluid in milky color and consistency? 

A milky power steering fluid is a sign of corrupted steering fluid. This discoloring may happen due to water or air mixing with the fluid. Additionally, the corrupted steering fluid causes a steering jam, noise, and wheel lock. However, flushing and changing the steering fluid is the solution.

This article will help you understand the reason behind steering fluid color change. Also, we will discuss the possible effects and solutions regarding this corruption. 

Overview Of Milky Power Steering Fluid Condition 

Causes Effects Solutions 
  • Touch of air 
  • Insertion of coolant 
  • Mixed with water 
  • The steering wheel gets stuck
  • Unavoidable steering noise 
  • Steering system jam
  • Changing the steering fluid 
  • Flushing the steering fluid 

Why Power Steering Fluid Gets Milky? 

Red is the usual color of the power steering fluid. This color differentiates the steering fluid from other automotive fluids. If you see any leakage in the power steering, you will notice the red liquid. 

But what about milky color or foamy situation? The color-changing of reservoir fluid is threatening. It means that the fluid has gotten faulty. 

Let’s see what is responsible for this discoloring automotive fluid.


Air can pollute the steering fluid. Air is less dense than hydraulic fluid. So, light air gets compressed easily and prevents smooth flow. This way, air or air bubbles damage the steering gear. 

Air can insert into the reservoir in many ways. If you open the reservoir cap often, air can pass. A loose reservoir tank cap is also responsible. 


Water and oil do not mix ever. This fact is applicable here. The fluid will be polluted if a drop of water slips through the tank. 

When you wash your car, water can enter the power steering reservoir. Also, if the steering box gets too hot, it can sweat. This can pollute the fluid.


Coolant is fluid in the power steering cooler. Coolant can turn steering fluid milky. Also, it protects the engine from overheating. When the car gets overheated, it cools down the engine.

Sometimes, the engine and steering components get too hot. It becomes impossible for the coolant to control the heat. As a result, the steering fluid gets ruined.  

What Effects Does Milky Steering Fluid Have?

PS fluid or power steering fluid improves the efficiency of the PS (power steering) system. There is no denying that ruined PS fluid damages the PS system.

You should check your PS fluid when you face trouble with your steering wheel. Let’s see what risk you will face for milky PS fluid.

Stuck Steering Wheel

Your steering wheel will collapse for milky PS fluid. The milky consistency can not flow smoothly. This problem makes the steering wheel often stop working.

The steering wheel may not stop working entirely. But, you will feel that it is not moving swiftly. You may face trouble turning the vehicle.

Steering Gear Jam 

Milky PS fluid tends to create a jam in the steering system. After all, this fluid keeps all the steering gears running. The ruined fluid blocks the mechanism. 

As the fluid gets milky, it does not provide enough oil to the gears. As a result, the steering gears get dry and rusty. The steering pump tends to get stuck on its way.

Unavoidable Noise 

Noise coming from your steering system is another effect. You will hear cluttering noises while driving, especially when you take turns; the noise increases. 

A clear example of steering fluid noise is when you parallel park your car. You need to move the steering wheel back and forth. This is when the noise gets more annoying.

What Is The Solution For Milky Ps Fluid?

The only solution for resolving milky power steering fluid is flushing. This process is also known as bleeding. 

Bleeding refers to letting all the air and fluids out of the line. Then refill the power steering fluid reservoir. In two ways, you can perform this bleeding. 

One method follows using a power steering pump. On the other hand, the other method is primarily known as flushing. It requires cleaning the hydraulic oil steering line.

Later in the article, you will find a step-by-step guideline to perform both methods.

Power Steering Fluid Types And Colors 

To take care of the steering system, we need to know about different types of PS fluid. Also, we need to learn what the different colors of the fluid mean. 

These facts will help you to understand the situation better. Additionally, you will be able to take proper steps. 

Types Of Power Steering Fluids

Name Description 
Mineral Power Steering Fluids
  • Made of additives and refined petroleum fractions
  • Develops the oil performance 
  • Zero aggressive impact on elements
  • Does not damage the rubber seal 
  • Expensive than other PS fluids 
  • Serves for short term 
  • Tend to shape foam regularly
Semi-Synthetic Power Steering Fluid
  • Combination of mineral and synthetic substances 
  • Has low degree viscosity 
  • Provides smooth lubricity 
  • Foam formation resistant 
  • Tends to damage rubber elements 
Synthetic Power Steering Fluid
  • Made of refined petroleum fractions, polyhydric alcohols, and polyesters
  • Special additives reduce rubber damage
  • Provides smooth flow at low temperature
  • Serves for long term
  • Contains low viscosity 
  • Foam formation resistant 
  • Can handle overheating 
Universal power steering fluids
  • Widely compatible with many PS systems
  • Reduces friction and stiffness
  • Improve steering performances
  • Prevents corrosion
  • Can seal small leaks
  • Restrains wearing and tearing of steering parts


Power Steering Fluid Color 

Color Reasons 
Red or Pink The primary color of power steering fluid 
Milky or FoamyCorrupted by water, air, or coolant 
Yellow Result of overheating. Not ruined 
Black or Brown Burned and ruined steering fluid 


How To Flush The Power Steering Fluid 

Flushing any automotive fluid is a skill that every car owner should have. We have already mentioned that you have two options to follow. 

The first method is more of a changing than flushing. It is less messy. Also, it is easy to follow. The method is also known as “poor man’s flush.” Let’s see how it works. 

  • Firstly, you need a turkey buster or a fluid extractor. This pump reservoir will do most of the work.
  • Secondly, open the front end of your car and look for a fluid steering component. The name will be written on the cap.
  • Thirdly, use the PS pump to extract the old fluid. Do not remove all the fluid from the can. 
  • Fourthly, start pouring new fresh fluid into the reservoir. Do not overflow the container. Follow the power steering fluid level.
  • Finally, turn the steering wheel entirely from side to side. Repeat it a few times. This will clear the line from air and dirt. 

The second method is messy but practical. You need to crawl down to your car and clean the low-pressure hose. Let’s see how to it step by step.

  • Firstly, jack up your car. It will give you more space to work. Go down to the catch tray. Remove the tray and locate the low-pressure hose. 
  • Secondly, you need to drain the hose or pipe. You can disconnect it and directly drain the old fluid. Also, you can use a tube to drain the fluid.
  • Thirdly, tell your friend to move the steering wheel from lock to lock. This will create a force flow via the pipe. As a result, all the old fluid, dirt, and air will come out.
  • Fourthly, pour clean fluid into the reservoir according to the fluid level. Repeat the wheel turning step; the following will activate the power steering system.
  • Finally, reattach all the components you detached. Go for a spin to check whether the steering problem has gone. 

You need to ensure that you are using the correct PS fluid. Read the car manual carefully. Most modern car manufacturers recommend using synthetic fluid.

You can check for different power steering fluids on amazon.

People Often Ask 

What Is The Symptom Of Low Power Steering Fluid?

If you face difficulty turning the steering wheel, it is a sign of low power steering fluid. Steering whine, fluid leak, and cluttering noise are also responsible.

Can Dexron III Be Used As PS Fluid?

You can only use Dexron iii fluid if the manufacturer suggests it. If your car manual says it uses Dexron II, you can use Dexron III here. Dexron II is no loger on sale.

Can You Use Brake Fluid Instead Of Steering Fluid?

Brake fluid and PS fluid are not interchangeable. However, in case of emergency, you can use brake fluid. But remove the brake fluid after the urgency as soon as possible.

Is Transmission Fluid & PS Fluid Similar? 

They both are hydraulic fluids. However, transmission fluid is used for running the transmission system. Also, it cleans the dirt from the transmission line. 

Does PS Fluid Help The Steering Rack?

Yes, it does. Steering fluid lubricates the steering rack and helps it to move. Power steering fluid leak via steering rack causes unit failure. 

Have You Found Your Answer? 

The power steering system is one of the essential components of a vehicle. Power steering fluid keeps the steering system running. So, you need to check the power steering fluid’s condition regularly. 

Finding milky power steering fluid in the steering gearbox is not rear. This may occur because the steering fluid gets touched by water or air. However, this corruption leads your steering system to collapse with jams and noise. 

Don’t worry. All you need to do is flush the old fluid and refill the reservoir with new fluid. Our article will help you learn about this particular fluid condition. Also, it will guide you to resolve. 

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