Got a power steering fluid leak. Three questions:
1) Is there a problem mixing brands of power steering fluid (not types but brands)? My owner's manual tells me I need "Dexron-III or "Dexron-IIe" types but specifically warns "Do not mix brands of power steering fluid."
2) Do the power steering fluids with sealant ("stop leak" brands, etc) work? Can they end up doing damage instead of helping?
3) Am I playing games with the safety of me and my 3 year old here - can the steering just suddenly quit on me?
Here's the story: I own a '99 Subaru Forester and about 6 month ago I discovered that I have a ripped rack and pinion boot. It was going to cost almost $500 to fix, and at the time I needed the car to last only 1 more year before donating or selling it. So my trusty mechanic told me "well, I wouldn't fix it if I were you - it just keeps dirt from getting in there so it's not be big issue".
Now I have about 6 months left before I can get a new car. Unfortunately I discovered yesterday that my rack and pinion has a leak. Apparently it's a common thing - if you don't fix the boot, then one of the first things that happens is that the rack and pinion seal start leaking. Now it's going to cost three times more to fix - almost $1,500.
So the recommendation from the mechanic is to buy some power steering fluid with a sealant in it, and try that first. If that doesn't work, then he said for a period of time I can just keep adding power steering fluid.
To be honest if that allows me to get 3 more months out of the car just doing that I would be happy. I'll probably have to give it away after that, but not concerned about it. Just need it to last at least 3 more months. So thus I'm seriously considering the option of just adding fluid. I just need to be sure that I'm not endangering the safety of my 3 year old!