Brake Fluid To Stop Power Steering Leak?

I had been driving around with gallons of ATF in my trunk for a year until I recently had the power steering pump changed on my 1996 Toyota Camry (which spent many winters sitting outside up in Canada), and now the leak seems worse. I brought it to my mechanic who wants $800 to change a leaky rack & pinion and a hose. But I am but a poor, unfortunate grad student and so I have no more money to put on this old, yet beloved car! So he suggested I put in a combination of ATF and brake fluid, which might slow down the leak. What say you? Will I ruin my newly acquired power steering pump or make matters worse?

I’d avoid it. Stop by the parts store and there should be an additive for the purpose. It may or may not help, but it’ll be cheap and worth trying.

Sincere best.

I’ve had success adding this to power steering systems to stop rack & pinion leaks when the owner couldn’t/wouldn’t spend the money to have the R&P replaced. Just make sure you follow the directions on the bottle.


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Putting brake fluid in anything but brakes is a VERY BAD IDEA! You can, however, use ATF in the power steering system as many shops do. But read the instruction manual first.

For the price of a case of beer you can buy several gallons of house brand ATF at any autop shop, and just top up the power steering fluid. If the leak is as bad as you say it is, adding some kind of Stop leak will not work.

Brake fluid has almost no lubricating qualities and may make the leak worse. When I was in college I had an old Chevy that used oil, so I kept a case of 24 quarts in the trunk and just kept topping up till graduation when I gave the car to my kid brother who fixed it up and drive it another 2 years.

If you are a poor student, you should not be driving at all!. Insurance and gas, as well as normal maintenance far exceed the price of bus tickets.

One more vote - BAD IDEA. You can get power steering fluid with leak stop, if it doesn’t work do at @Docnick suggests.

Brake fluid damages many things that it touches. I’d hate to put it in anything that’s leaking.

Try a bottle of Gold Eagle stop leak. It can even be used it place of power steering fluid in most systems, including Toyota. It stopped in it’s tracks a bad leak in my wife’s '92 Celica. That was 2 years ago.

I had a 96 Subaru Impreza that leaked for years. I had put gallons of power stirring fluid with stop leak in it. I put a cap full of break fluid in and it never leaked again. Drove it for a few years after and had no problems.

I have heard of Brake Fluid but have never seen Break Fluid.

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I think that after 7 years,either the OP bought a new car or still stuck with his old Toyota.

OTOH someone else may come along with the same problem and find Michael’s experience useful.

I think this policing of old posts and spell checks is not so useful, especially to newcomers to this forum


So your thread of December 2010 where you complained about people using ’ u ’ instead of ’ you ’ or ’ r ’ instead of ’ are ’ is no longer valid .

I did not scold any particular poster (first time or otherwise) back then.
It was a thread I started, and I stated how I felt.

I find it ironic that the Chief of Old Thread Police would bring up a 10 year old thread.
For anyone curious, here it is:

(T. Monk = Thelonious Monk)

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