- Clean transmission fluid is red, but as it works through your car's transmission, it turns darker and maybe even orange. If you're having trouble accelerating, it is probably a fluid problem and could be because the car is leaking transmission fluid or the fluid level is low. Check the transmission fluid levels while the engine is running. Transmission fluid reservoirs are usually marked by a colored dipstick with a ring handle.
Power Steering Fluid
- Power steering fluid allows you to easily change direction in your car. The fluid is usually clear, though it will turn red or brown over time. If your car is making whining sounds when you take sharp turns, it may be time to check the power steering fluid level. The reservoir is usually on the driver side of the engine. Check the fluid level with the dipstick while the engine is turned off. If you need to add fluid, don't overfill or it could spray over the engine when it gets warm.
Interchanging the Two
- Some cars (Fords) use transmission fluid in the power steering because the fluids are essentially the same thing---hydraulic. Transmission fluid has a dye added so that it can be identified when checking for a leak. However, some cars (Hondas) require a special power steering fluid. Check your owner's manual to make sure there are no cautions against using transmission fluid for both the transmission and power steering.