Accidentally put power steering in the brake fluid

Tiny
CASMIHOK
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 JEEP LIBERTY
  • 3.7L
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 157,000 MILES
I am an idiot I know spare me the lecture. However, I didn't bleed the original brake fluid when I went to flush, I used a turkey baster to get it out and then put it power steering. I caught it about Twenty miles later. The level didn't move, I used a turkey baster to get the power steering fluid out and put in brake fluid. I am going to do that some more, but did I seriously screw myself in those few miles? I don't slam on the brakes, and the brake fluid doesn't have much oil separation in them. What do you think? Thanks
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Thursday, May 30th, 2019 AT 11:59 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
Hi Casmihok,

You may be okay, but I wouldn't risk it because this is a pretty important system. The unfortunate thing is what happens when oil mixes with brake fluid is it contaminates it and permeates it. It is not like oil and water where it doesn't mix.

It would not be that big of a deal if you just flushed your lines but the oil actually swells rubber and causes it to not seal any longer once it is deformed. There is no way to tell when this may happen so even if you flush it, you will be pushing the oil that is still in there through your system and it will infect all your rubber components.

The only real solution is to replace any components with rubber seals. This means your master cylinder, rubber brake lines, possibly the calipers, and maybe even the ABS module because it contains rubber seals.

You may be okay with just some of that like the master cylinder and rubber lines and then flushing the lines with a solvent before you reassemble the system. If you came into my shop, I wouldn't feel comfortable letting you go without doing it all because again, if a seal fails, you will not know until it fails. This is not a system that you want to take chances with not only because it affects your vehicle but you will be on the road with others.

Sorry for the unfortunate news but oil and hydraulic seals just don't like each other.
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Thursday, May 30th, 2019 AT 3:56 PM
Tiny
CASMIHOK
  • MEMBER
I flushed the lines this morning, the fluid wasn't badly dirty. Only took about 9 or so pumps to get perfect fluid through. But before flushing I turkey bastered out the power steering and refilled it with brake fluid. I then turkey bastered out that brake fluid and put in new brake fluid, I am not too worried. I don't think much made it through the lines, I had it looked at and was told it is okay. Thank you
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Friday, May 31st, 2019 AT 10:51 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
Okay. That sounds like good news. Just try to stay vigilant of how the brakes feel for the next week or so. If there is any oil damage done the rubber should be already swelled or in the process. If no issues in the near future then you should be all clear. Thanks for the update.
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Friday, May 31st, 2019 AT 6:26 PM

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