Honda vehicles rely almost entirely on parts made by the manufacturer. They even have specific oils used in cars, like the Honda Power Steering Fluid.
Some vehicle owners wonder if they must use Honda’s steering fluid or if they can use another brand.
You don’t have to use Honda Power Steering fluid in a Honda vehicle, but you do have to ensure you use a compatible steering fluid. Refer to your owner’s manual or consult with a mechanic before adding any fluids to your Honda vehicle.
What Power Steering Fluid to Use in Your Honda
Honda vehicles use Honda parts and fluids to keep running in tip-top shape. Now and then, it becomes necessary to top off your fluids or replace a couple of parts.
If you check the owner’s manual, it may tell you to only use the power steering fluid manufactured by Honda. It might feel like a sales trick (and it is), but unfortunately, Honda vehicles are made to run better using Honda-brand parts and fluids.
This said, you can use an alternative power steering fluid in your vehicle. Just keep in mind that Genuine Honda Power Steering Fluid has different qualities than others you’ll find on the market.
Whatever alternative you use must have the same chemical composition and traits as Honda’s steering fluid – the pumps and parts inside a Honda vehicle are designed to only work with specific formulas.
Failing to use the right steering fluid in your car can severely damage your steering column.
Additionally, you can’t mix power steering fluids with different viscosities. They won’t mix and will essentially lock up your steering column.
You can also easily lock the pump, clog your lines, and even snap off some parts in the power steering system.
Check your owner’s manual for the properties of the fluid meant for your Honda vehicle.
Which Power Steering Fluids Are Compatible With My Honda?
The list of power steering fluids suitable for a Honda is very small. Because of the complicated power steering system that Honda developed, only a few fluids are designed to work.
Honda will always push for their own steering fluid, but a couple of alternatives are also okay. Don’t use any power steering fluids that aren’t listed here or aren’t listed inside your owner’s manual.
Your first choice should always be Genuine Honda Power Steering Fluid. Honda makes this steering fluid specifically for Honda vehicles, and using it results in more accurate steering and less wear and tear.
The price isn’t much higher than the alternatives, making it the best choice overall when you need to top off your power steering fluid.
Idemitsu PSF Universal Power Steering Fluid is acceptable in Honda vehicles. This identically-formulated and less expensive alternative is known for reducing noise in the steering column and does a good job lubricating the power steering system.
Finally, Autozone Honda Power Steering Fluid will work just as well as Honda’s, but it’s essentially the same price compared to ordering directly from Honda.
Ultimately, it’s better (and about the same cost) to buy Genuine Honda Power Steering Fluid.
When To Top Off Your Power Steering Fluid
There are plenty of signs that it’s time to top off or change your power steering fluid. Some may be obvious, but others are much more subtle.
Steering issues are an obvious sign that your power steering system isn’t working effectively.
If your steering wheel becomes difficult to turn or isn’t as responsive as it once was, you’re likely low on power steering fluid. Maneuvering may also become harder, and the wheel might feel “heavy.”
Your steering wheel should also rotate smoothly. Any jerking motions when you turn it or spots where it feels like it’s snagging can signal that your steering fluid needs refilling.
While not common, your steering wheel may lock in place.
Thankfully, this usually only happens at low speeds, but it can still be dangerous. With low fluid, the system can go into a low-pressure mode that locks down the wheel.
Visible leaks are another obvious sign of problems in the system, but you still need to know what to look for.
Power steering fluids are typically red or maroon. If there are puddles underneath your vehicle when parked, check the color of the liquid.
In addition to refilling the system, you’ll need to locate and fix the leak.
If you notice these signs, you should take your car to a mechanic to check your power steering fluid.
You don’t have to use Genuine Honda Power Steering Fluid in your Honda vehicle – there are alternatives.
Unfortunately, thanks to Honda’s complex power steering system, only a few power steering fluids will work properly in their vehicles.