ANY ATF will work. Mass confusion on this post. I've switched fluids on so many cars it's not funny. Power steering fluid is ATF without the red dye, ALL ATF fluids have the dye to tell you what the leak is from when you find the puddle under the car. Been that way since the fifties. ALL cars and brands used to use type A which was Chrysler ATF through the sixties until dealers realized they can use whatever ATF is kept in stock to service their own ATXs. Ford used F when their predominant fluid used in trans was F, they went to Mercon when most of the trans went to that, easier to have the power steering fluid already be on the shelf and one less part to have to keep track of. Now Ford uses V, why? They already carry it........the difference between regular Mercon and V is that V is synthetic, so more resistant to heat. More profit too, anybody notice the $1/qt. price increase? I wouldn't hesitate to put V in place of regular Mercon, in fact I have three cars now INTERMIXED, running like that. Power steering systems are not high tech, the same basic systems used design wise since the fifties again, only refined. The seals would have no difference from seal used in ATX, and certainly the fluid will not affect them. The seals cook from heat, no oil type known on the planet stops that. You can get better oil as far as heat but you're stuck with your seals. Getting lifetime power steering pumps and then having them go out is most likely bad pump reassembly, many of those parts become matched in operation, switching them around to make 'new' (RIIIIGHT!) pumps is just asking for at least groaning noises and the fluid has nothing to do with that. We were taught at the store to blame new pump noise on that though, a typical example of how you get garbage parts and then the lies for why begin. Anything you can point a finger at to blame the user and all that.......one should try rebuilding some of those pumps and then you would see just how critical correct reassembly is to proper function. On many the ends of pump cavity can easily be reassembled backwards or not indexed like before, if the part brand new doesn't matter, but they often reuse any slightly worn endplates and then the noise begins. They have to be PERFECT or you get noise even with only couple thousandths wear, even though pump will run up to full pressure and may well work for years like that. I've rebuilt some pumps and racks to find that out.............one whines but has been doing it for 25+ years and still works fine.
Regular Mercon is not type F but they both work fine in power steering. V won't hurt as an upgrade. Mercon is usually labeled in stores as Dex/Merc...........
Mobil ATF would work fine.
The only car you have to be careful with power steering fluid for is Honda, not all of them, but some have plastic impellers that damage easily if wrong fluid is used. That's why you don't see specific GM, Ford, or Mopar power steering fluid on the shelves but you find it for HONDA.
If you want to lower troubles with power steering on cars, CHANGE THE FLUID occasionally. Look at the fluid color as it ages, it turns dark grey, that is finely ground up METAL suspended in it, get that out and the systems last forever unless you simply pop a hose, nothing can prevent that. The metal particles are what eat your seals to leak. I partially change my fluid on a regular basis by the turkey baster method someone mentioned earlier, somewhere at around 75K miles I pull return and run all of it out to completely replace it. I've never lost a rack or pump in 40 years..........
Since power steering fluid IS ATF, I suspect that since the requirements are not as rigorous that fluid vendors may start cheaping out by cutting some of the valuable additives ATF has. I only use labeled ATF in anything I have, I think the actual 'power steering' fluid could be gutted of additives to be not as good a product. After all, the CEO of the oil company does not care about you, all he cares about is the next quarter's performance.................besides that, PS fluid is more expensive, how stupid is that????
Last edited by whynotthinkwhynot; 01-04-2013 at 06:19 AM.
Reason: bad wording