Last Updated on January 29, 2024 by Pittalks
Power steering fluid is a crucial element in a vehicle’s power steering system, but its characteristics often raise questions about its safety. One such question is, “Is power steering fluid flammable?“
This article delves into this query, offering a detailed understanding of the properties and handling of power steering fluid.
Related: How to Tell If You Have Variable Assist Power Steering: A Simple Guide
Is Power Steering Fluid Really Flammable? If It is, How Much So?
The flammability of power steering fluid is a subject of debate among many vehicle enthusiasts and drivers. While it is susceptible to burning under certain conditions, it is not generally classified as a flammable liquid.
The key to understanding this notion lies in the fluid’s flashpoint – the temperature at which it can ignite. Most power steering fluids have a flashpoint between 300 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that while it can catch fire, it requires a considerably high temperature to do so, which is not typically encountered in everyday vehicle operations or in an average workshop environment.
Thus, while power steering fluid can technically be flammable, the chances of it causing a fire under regular circumstances are quite low.
What’s The Flash Point of Power Steering Fluid?
The concept of the flashpoint plays a significant role in understanding the flammability of power steering fluid. The flashpoint of a substance is the lowest temperature at which it can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in air. Power steering fluid typically has a flashpoint ranging from 300 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, it’s worth noting that the flashpoint can differ slightly based on the specific formulation of the fluid. Different manufacturers may use different ingredients in their power steering fluid, which can affect the exact flashpoint of the product.
What’s The Boiling Point of Power Steering Fluid?
The boiling point of a substance is the temperature at which it changes from a liquid to a gas. Interestingly, the boiling point of power steering fluid is higher than its flashpoint. It is usually around 600-700 degrees Fahrenheit.
This suggests that power steering fluid will begin to evaporate and transform into gas at this temperature. However, as the boiling point is higher than the flashpoint, the fluid needs a source of flame to ignite at this temperature.
Does Power Steering Fluid Evaporate?
Yes, power steering fluid can evaporate when exposed to high temperatures. At its boiling point, the fluid begins to convert into gas, which subsequently has a flashpoint of around 300-500 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a vehicle engine, this gas could potentially come into contact with a spark, such as from the spark plugs, which could ignite it. However, the probability of this happening is quite low due to the high flashpoint of the fluid.
|Celsius (°C) Range
|Fahrenheit (°F) Range
|150°C - 250°C
|302°F - 482°F
|250°C - 310°C
|482°F - 590°F
|150°C - 200°C
|302°F - 392°F
How To Properly Handle Power Steering Fluid
Despite its relatively low flammability, power steering fluid should still be handled with care.
Here are some safety measures to keep in mind:
- Keep the fluid away from fire sources: Due to its potential to ignite at high temperatures, it should be kept away from any sources of fire or extreme heat.
- Correctly label the fluid: This helps avoid confusion and misuse.
- Clean up spills immediately: If the fluid spills, clean it up promptly using a good laundry detergent. This prevents any potential fire hazards and reduces the risk of slips and falls.
- Keep the fluid out of reach of children and pets: Although power steering fluid is not typically toxic, it can be harmful if ingested or if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes.
How To Store Power Steering Fluid
Proper storage of power steering fluid is essential to prevent any potential fire hazards. Here are some measures to ensure safe storage:
- Store in a cool, dry place: The fluid should be kept in a location with a stable, cool temperature and away from direct sunlight.
- Use a tightly sealed container: This prevents any accidental spills and reduces the risk of the fluid coming into contact with heat sources.
- Keep away from flammables: Due to its potential to ignite at high temperatures, power steering fluid should be stored separately from any flammable substances.
- Store in a clearly marked container: This helps prevent any confusion and ensures that the fluid is used correctly.
Can I Put Power Steering Fluid In A Hot Car?
Yes, you can add power steering fluid to a warm car. However, if your car is overheating, it’s best to let it cool down before adding any fluid.
Can Power Steering Fluid Burn Inside The Car?
Power steering fluid can burn if it leaks onto a hot engine. While it’s not easy to ignite power steering fluid due to its high flashpoint and boiling point, a leak onto a hot engine can cause the fluid to burn and potentially lead to a fire.
Will A Power Steering Fluid Leak Cause A Fire?
While the chances are low, a power steering fluid leak could potentially lead to a fire if the fluid comes into contact with a hot engine or other hot parts of the car. It is advised to repair any power steering fluid leaks promptly to prevent any potential fire hazards.
Is Power Steering Fluid Corrosive?
Power steering fluid is not typically corrosive. However, it might cause paint to peel off on contact. Therefore, it is advisable to clean any spills promptly.
Should I Worry About Power Steering Fluid Catching On Fire?
Although power steering fluid can technically catch fire, the likelihood of this happening under normal circumstances is quite low due to its high flashpoint. However, it’s always best to handle and store the fluid properly to minimize any potential fire risks.
In conclusion, while power steering fluid can catch fire under certain conditions, its high flashpoint makes it less likely to do so under normal circumstances. Proper handling and storage of the fluid can further minimize any potential fire risks. It’s always best to maintain a vehicle properly and promptly repair any power steering fluid leaks to ensure safety.