How Long Does It Take for Power Steering Fluid to Mess up Brakes?

Most users are unaware of the power steering fluid’s nature. On top of that, they are unable to differentiate braking fluids which causes trouble. 

Once the damage is on the run, you perhaps ask how far the entire damage is! We have your dilemma. In this article, we have sorted these out so that you can prevent braking failure.

So, how long does it take for power steering fluid to mess up brakes?

Once you pedal the brake, 2-10 minutes is the maximum time power steering fluid takes to mess up the brakes. But mostly passing a minute is considered to be late. Most brakes have alcohol-based fluid while power steering fluids have petroleum. It allows overheating and results in pedal braking cutting the margin.

Seems interesting? Well, we will be providing every vital information regarding these here.

So, let’s dig deeper!

Does Power Steering Fluid Damage Brakes?

Power steering fluids come in mostly as petroleum-based fluids. Initially, damaging the reservoir cap and blaster master cylinder seals come as symptoms. 

So yes, mostly steering fluid can mess up brakes! While you use power steering fluid contaminating the brakes, several things may start happening. 


This contamination will push seals to start pouring instantly. While the seals are bulging, they get to move ahead. 

As a result, blocking the passages gets to start there. It enables the brake system to function completely.

Just like how putting windshield fluid in coolant is bad, putting power steering fluid in brakes is equally a bad idea. 

Want an example? Well, the brake master cylinder comes with return ports. Eventually, ports get blocked due to the blockage from the bloated seal. 

Along with that, returning fluid to the puddle also gets a barrier. These circumstances you will find while releasing the brake pedal.

Meanwhile, you may know braking produces heat a lot. This heat circulation causes the fluid of the brake to expand. 

This mechanism requires the raised amount of fluid going to the reservoir. However, what if it does not happen? 

Well, incompetency of returning to the reservoir makes brakes applicable. And eventually, it shuts the wheels off. 

Mostly, brake issues can make you feel terrible. Driving for a short distance? 

You can not assume that there will be no braking issues! Due to the brake getting locked up, you might often fall into this trouble. 

Also, this contamination perhaps damages the rubber. As a result, the system collapses!

While you replace the contaminated master cylinder, you will have the solution to braking flaws. Along with that, exuding the brakes can fix the system too.

Due to all of these reasons, it’s always best to opt for brake fluids. But keep in mind that not all brake fluids are right for every vehicle. Here are some brake fluids that are ideal for cars: 

Prestone AS400 DOT 3 Synthetic Brake FluidGet Now!
Bosch ESI6-32N Brake Fluid Get Now!

How Long Does Power Steering Fluid Take To Mess Up Brakes?

How long does it take for power steering fluid to mess up brakes? Well, you can’t expect to have a specific time limit of getting deteriorated. 

Meanwhile, only 2 to 10 minutes can be enough to damage the brakes. After an hour, you will find the system gets damaged entirely.

However, it depends on how much power steering fluid has leaked into the braking system

Moreover, there are some other mechanical issues. But we won’t go there! Once you brake the pedal, power steering fluid bearing petroleum enters the braking system. 

And it lets the whole area overheat and malfunction. As per users’ experiences, these cases are related to frequent damage.

Why Is Power Steering Fluid Not Suitable?

You may find a lot of automotive fluids containing petroleum. For example, power steering fluid to engine oil is all petroleum-based. However, a key reason is avoiding power steering fluid from the braking system. The whole braking process does not fit the petroleum-based oils. As a result, leakage of it instantly puts the brakes into trouble. Meanwhile, engineers suggest using alcohol-oriented fluids here. 


As the brakes can’t control much heat, alcohol prevents overheating and keeps the system cooler. Once you pedal, petroleum directs to the brakes.

Meanwhile, a rapid deterioration takes place. Knowing the ways to prevent steering fluids from leaking can help you in this regard. 

How Does Petroleum Damage The Braking System?

Well, we are going to dive deeper into petroleum liquids like power steering liquid. That’s why we will wrap the direct involvement of petroleum in damage here. 

Fluids such as mineral or synthetic oils also come as key resources to fluid. Meanwhile, these get mixed with different additives. As a result, suppressing foam, stemming corrosion, and improving lubricants become possible. 

That’s how power steering pumps and gear get introduced to its fluid. But fluids like petroleum directly damage the braking system. Let’s see the mechanism of how it works-

Overview of Mechanism

First of all, the liquid attacks the reservoir cap and master cylinder. That’s when pedaling the brake finds the master cylinder contaminates the whole system.

As a result, nothing but disassembling the system is the only effective gateway for repairing. Also, you can clean the lines and substitute each rubber part. 

However, brake fluid is quite weightier than petroleum-based fluids. As a result, you will not see them mixing with each other. 

So, fewer troubles would catch you if you could decode this earlier. You would have applied to siphon the adulterant or mixture from the master cylinder instantly.

Sanctifying the procedure in reverse could also be done. You could also compel fluid to stream back to the master cylinder. 

Interestingly, most users apply the brakes even before finding the error. That’s why repairing it is barely possible.


As a hydraulic engine pushes with loads of pressure, the contamination process tends to happen. Once the brake system involves the fluid mixture, fewer options you have to try then. You may also look for why gas comes out of the exhaust as this would give you a more comprehensive idea. 

Brake Fluid vs Power Steering Fluid

Finally, here’s a side-by-side difference detailing why power steering fluid is unsuitable for brakes. 

Ground of ComparisonBrake FluidPower Steering Fluid
Used inBraking systemPower steering system
NatureBoosting the braking system’s partsPutting pressure to the steering process
MaterialCarrying silicone, glycol-ether or even mineral oilOil-based
Compression TypeIncompressibleCompressible
Boiling PointHigherHigher and lower- both
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

As we can see from the table, normal brake fluid and power steering fluid is vastly different. So, interchanging them can cause grave danger and cause your brake to be destroyed within minutes. 

Lastly, ensure that all types of car fluid are present in their own compartments and used for their designated purposes.


Do Lower Power Steering Fluid Impact Brakes?

Yes, low power steering highly connects to brakes and affects a lot. Usually, involving the brakes might steal power from the steering. Meanwhile, if the vehicle contains Hydroboost brakes, then low power steering fluid can be catastrophic. But having vacuum brake boosters can reduce risks.

What Are The Major Symptoms of Having A Low Power Steering Fluid?

Steering outbursts with noise and jumpy steering are the major symptoms of low power steering fluid. You may fall into these circumstances during parking. Difficulty in turning the steering wheel, and screeching issues are also there. Puddling or finding stains under your car shows having a lower fluid.

What Forces To Happen Steering Failure?

Disconnectivity between the steering wheel and the vehicle’s wheels is the reason behind steering failure. Susceptible older vehicles have this often due to excessive mechanical malfunctions. Also, fluid leaking gets reproached for this issue. Hitting shattered roads damage EPS causing failure too.

Final Words

I hope you got the answer to how long does it take for power steering fluid to mess up brakes

Optimistically, our article has delivered to you the key factors happening behind this incident. As a result, you may handle pedaling brakes more sensitively from next. 

That’s all for today! Drive safely!

Robert Lozano

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