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Please Help me! I am a dope!

So, I noticed that my steering was a little jerky and decided to check the level of my power steering fluid. What do you know, it was a little low. So I grabbed a bottle of power steering fluid, or so I thought, and filled the reservoir to the appropriate level. As it turns out, it was automatic transmission fluid that I added. It was not a lot, but the level was down to the add amount, and now it is full. I need to know how much damage I am doing. I think I know how to drain the fluid out, there is a clamped line on the bottom of the reservoir that should drain it all out, but i need to get to work tomorrow, and then to the auto store to get some power steering fluid and fill it with the correct stuff. I just want to be sure that I am not doing irreparable damage in the meantime. I know I am a dope, but I am also a brain cancer survivor and often make mistakes that I did not make before my surgery. No Joke…PLEASE HELP ME!!!

You would be surprised to know how many manufacturers specify ATF for power steering use. Check the dipstick/cap on your Chevy. If it doesn’t say, check your owner’s manual. You may be just fine.

I does not. It says use only approved power steering fluid. So, I may be OK? Do you think I should still change it out to all power steering fluid?

What do they say is the APPROVED fluid? I’d bet it says GM only in the book.

I’ll have to let someone more knowledgeable tell you if you should drain it out.

That would be great. Thanks so much for the help.

Calm down, this is no big deal. Have the system drained and refilled with OEM fluid*. Your owner’s manual should say what, specifically needs to be poured in there.

*if your owner’s manual specifically says to not use trans fluid in the system.

MG is right, same thing or close enough.

I would just leave it alone. Transmission & power steering fluids are both just hydraulic fluids. As another poster noted many systems use ATF. (In my Ford you use the same thing in the tranny & ps).

If you do decide that you want to replace all of the fluid, btw, then just draining the reservoir won’t do it.

If it steers OK without any abnormal noise, binding, or extra effort needed, you’re probably OK. The tranny fluid will not be corrosive or harm the system in any way, except if it is too thick. Then it could cause blown seals or lines.

You’re probably fine, but maybe think of draining and refilling it before the weather gets really cold.

I don’tthink this is a catastrophy. A few months ago the power steering fluid of our Nissan needed topping up. I went to the dealer to buy some fluid, and they tried to sell me…Automatic Transmission fluid.

They told me that Nissan specifies auto trans fluid, they have never seen special P.S fluid.

Your Chevy may be different, but the fluids are very close in spec.

im curious. what does your owners manual state as what is req’d? i dont own a GM product, and am curious.

It says in the book, "GM Power Steering Fluid (GM Part No. 1052884, 10050017, or equivalent)

It says in the book, "GM Power Steering Fluid (GM Part No. 1052884, 10050017, or equivalent). Thanks to all of you for all the help. I will sleep better tonight. I am going to change out the fluid soon. The “or equivalent” part in the description of the fluid recommended makes me think I shouldn’t be too worried about it either. Thanks again to all of you. You are the best!!!

Just FYI, there won’t be any straightforward way to just easily change out all of the PS fluid. If you really want to do it, get a turkey baster (or something similar), suck the reservoir as empty as you can. Refill with clean new PS fluid of whatever the spec is. Drive for a couple of days/week and do it again. About one more time after that (2 if you want to be sure), you’ll pretty much be on new fluid.