Go Back  Bike Forums > The Lounge > Foo
Reload this Page >

Why does honda require it's own special power steering fluid?

Foo Off-Topic chit chat with no general subject.

Why does honda require it's own special power steering fluid?

Old 03-22-08, 03:16 PM
  #1  
phantomcow2
la vache fantôme
Thread Starter
 
phantomcow2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NH
Posts: 6,266
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Why does honda require it's own special power steering fluid?

I noticed my power steering fluid level was a bit low today. It wasn't below the min mark, but the owners manual says to keep it close to the MAX mark. So I went to autozone and found a whole line of power steering fluids. The manual says to use only power steering designated for use with Honda vehicles. It says use of any other fluid will damage the system. Why is this? Is there something particular about the design of a honda power steering system which warrants a special fluid? I did buy the honda fluid, but of course it was more expensive.
__________________
C://dos
C://dos.run
run.dos.run
phantomcow2 is offline  
Old 03-22-08, 03:27 PM
  #2  
Sledbikes
Senior Member
 
Sledbikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 539
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
you can always put what ever you want in there but then youll be wondering why it cost you 1200 for a power steering pump
Sledbikes is offline  
Old 03-22-08, 03:39 PM
  #3  
EthanYQX
Why not?
 
EthanYQX's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 846

Bikes: Giant STP 2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I asked the same question and got a bunch of crap about viscosity.
EthanYQX is offline  
Old 03-22-08, 04:44 PM
  #4  
timmhaan
more ape than man
 
timmhaan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: nyc
Posts: 8,094
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
I noticed my power steering fluid level was a bit low today. It wasn't below the min mark, but the owners manual says to keep it close to the MAX mark. So I went to autozone and found a whole line of power steering fluids. The manual says to use only power steering designated for use with Honda vehicles. It says use of any other fluid will damage the system. Why is this? Is there something particular about the design of a honda power steering system which warrants a special fluid? I did buy the honda fluid, but of course it was more expensive.
i'm not surprised in the least.
timmhaan is offline  
Old 03-22-08, 05:13 PM
  #5  
jhota
blithering idiot
 
jhota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: beautiful coastal South Carolina
Posts: 1,263

Bikes: 1991 Trek 930, 2005 Bianchi Eros, 2006 Nashbar "X," IRO Rob Roy

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Honda's not the only one.
jhota is offline  
Old 03-22-08, 07:33 PM
  #6  
supton
Cries on hills
 
supton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Central NH
Posts: 1,091

Bikes: 2007 Trek Pilot 1.2, 1969 Raleigh Sprite 5

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Yep, German cars are notorious for wanting very specific fluids--and barfing when fed the wrong ones.

Ask yourself this: what is it worth to not have to worry about it? Is the few dollars you might have saved that important for food on the table? How often do you have to fill it (cost per mile or cost per year)?

If in doubt, hit up some of the Honda forums and see if it's bunk or not. Or hit up some reputable mechanics. Perhaps it is, perhaps it is not. The concensus on my German car has been "no", the generic stuff is bad. Afterall, Honda's are not sensitive to motor oil.
supton is offline  
Old 03-22-08, 07:50 PM
  #7  
phantomcow2
la vache fantôme
Thread Starter
 
phantomcow2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NH
Posts: 6,266
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Oh I am not complaining about the price. The difference was less than 2 dollars. Given the amount of fluid that I use, I am definitely not sensitive to this price difference! It's not worth avoiding buying the "right" oil, I'm just curious. The manual said any DOT 3 or 4 oil will work for the clutch and ABS, nothing specific.
__________________
C://dos
C://dos.run
run.dos.run
phantomcow2 is offline  
Old 03-22-08, 08:01 PM
  #8  
Wordbiker
Pwnerer
 
Wordbiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,909
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I hear that you can save money on "expensive" bicycle chain lube by mixing ATF, motor oil, paraffin and teflon...or you can just buy chain lube.

All asideness aside, systems with seals are designed to work with certain fluids and can sustain damage if the wrong fluids are used. This includes hydraulic disc brakes for bicycles.

I seriously doubt Honda is trying to pull a fast one with gaining a few bucks on aftermarket fluids. I also doubt the fluid you purchased is only available through Honda, merely the industry standard fluid compatible with Honda's design.
__________________
Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
Ski, bike and wish I was gay.
Wordbiker is offline  
Old 03-22-08, 09:59 PM
  #9  
The Figment
The Wheel is Turning
 
The Figment's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Virgil Kansas
Posts: 540

Bikes: '05 Novara (REI) Bonanza

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Honda/Gm use the same power steering fluid. Ford and Mopar do not. Its all about lubricating the seals in the pump...The specific compound of the rubber seals and keeping them pliable
The Figment is offline  
Old 03-22-08, 11:33 PM
  #10  
v1k1ng1001
Gorntastic!
 
v1k1ng1001's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: United States of Mexico
Posts: 3,424
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My Subaru apparently requires special radiator conditioning fluid.
__________________
v1k1ng1001 is offline  
Old 03-23-08, 08:01 AM
  #11  
jhota
blithering idiot
 
jhota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: beautiful coastal South Carolina
Posts: 1,263

Bikes: 1991 Trek 930, 2005 Bianchi Eros, 2006 Nashbar "X," IRO Rob Roy

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by The Figment View Post
Honda/Gm use the same power steering fluid. Ford and Mopar do not. Its all about lubricating the seals in the pump...The specific compound of the rubber seals and keeping them pliable
news to me. i've been using generic ATF (Dexron-II/Mercon or better) in GM power steering systems for years. no issues.

the Europeans do get amusing, though.

Rolls-Royce, for example, doesn't use brake fluid in many of its cars. instead, it uses mineral oil.

except for the models which use RR363 brake fluid.

but owners consistently confuse the two, even though the two fluids have different colours and different reservoirs - the mineral oil system can't even be filled if you've got the wrong container (on the later cars, anyway).

where the real fun begins is on those mineral oil cars - the same fluid that works the brake hydraulics also works the body leveling system. so if you blow a rear shock, there go the rear brakes! 88-89 Jag sedans are the same way (with the added "benefit" of having the power steering on the same hydraulic system).

so what happens if you put the wrong fluid in? you destroy seals. which, on that 88/89 Jag, means you can't stop or steer. fun!

antifreeze requirements (particularly for German cars) are interesting, too. conventional, Dex-Cool or synthetic other (G05, etc.)? heck, VW is just evil, with mid-year switches (like when they went from G11 to G12) where using the wrong coolant could actually cause catastrophic engine failures.
jhota is offline  
Old 03-23-08, 08:42 AM
  #12  
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,854

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've known of automatic-equipped Hondas to shift badly when filled with non-Honda transmission fluid. One of the guys at work with a Civic Hybrid had his tranny running like crap, so he went by the dealer and asked for help. Turned out that his previous trip to Jiffy Lube had loaded it with some off-the-shelf transmission fluid, which is when the problematic shifting began. They flushed it & refilled with Honda ATF, and it was back to normal.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 03-23-08, 10:14 AM
  #13  
phantomcow2
la vache fantôme
Thread Starter
 
phantomcow2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NH
Posts: 6,266
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
I've known of automatic-equipped Hondas to shift badly when filled with non-Honda transmission fluid. One of the guys at work with a Civic Hybrid had his tranny running like crap, so he went by the dealer and asked for help. Turned out that his previous trip to Jiffy Lube had loaded it with some off-the-shelf transmission fluid, which is when the problematic shifting began. They flushed it & refilled with Honda ATF, and it was back to normal.
That's pretty interesting. It must have something to do with viscosity. I have a 5 speed, so this wouldn't really apply to me. Still, interesting none the less.
__________________
C://dos
C://dos.run
run.dos.run
phantomcow2 is offline  
Old 03-23-08, 11:22 AM
  #14  
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,854

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
That's pretty interesting. It must have something to do with viscosity. I have a 5 speed, so this wouldn't really apply to me. Still, interesting none the less.
That's what I figure, too. Honda may have specific additives in their tranny fluid as well.

I'd just keep trusting their recommendations. You've also noticed that they give general requirements for some fluids (clutch & brakes) while requiring their own fluids for other systems. That makes me think that they have specific reasons for those fluids and did their engineering work with those fluids in mind.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 03-23-08, 05:43 PM
  #15  
ItsJustMe
Señior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,753

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 441 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Because it's another way to get you to either cough a few more bucks, or to void your warranty on you.

I don't believe that Honda's engineers are so incompetent that they couldn't design a power steering system that would work every bit as well with conventional fluid, but then they wouldn't have another consumer lock-in to hook you on.

Finding that a car requires special fluids is a serious minus in my book, and I let the dealers know about it when I'm shopping. Of course, those days are gone, I have no interest in wasting my money on a new car anymore.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 03-23-08, 06:17 PM
  #16  
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,854

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
Because it's another way to get you to either cough a few more bucks, or to void your warranty on you.
Then why don't they require their own fluids in other systems?

Sorry, but your complaint is unfounded. You can stop worrying about it now.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 03-23-08, 07:11 PM
  #17  
phantomcow2
la vache fantôme
Thread Starter
 
phantomcow2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NH
Posts: 6,266
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
This car is 15 years old, has 280,000 miles on it, the warranty passed a while ago.
__________________
C://dos
C://dos.run
run.dos.run
phantomcow2 is offline  
Old 03-24-08, 07:25 AM
  #18  
dijos
Walks with a limp
 
dijos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Indy, IN
Posts: 1,346
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
+1 on VWs- they have proprietary everything fluids. and it's significantly more expensive.
dijos is offline  
Old 03-24-08, 12:03 PM
  #19  
Rob P
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 224

Bikes: Time

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
At a local quick change oil place, I was having my Acura's oil changed and the tech there showed me what my tranny fluid looked like.

It was white/silverish which was very different then the regular red fluid he was trying to sell me. He said that my tranny fluid was bad and should be replaced with this red fluid. I of course said "no" and just got my oil changed.

After doing some research online I found out that could have been a $2500 repair had we gone for the wrong fluid. Apparently not only is my tranny very sensative in general but the wrong fluid would have in all likelihood caused a major problem.

It's probably the same for your tranny fluid. I'm not expert on cars but I suspect it's like different weight oil.
Rob P is offline  
Old 03-24-08, 01:17 PM
  #20  
trsidn 
Jeff Vader
 
trsidn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Putting the 'fun' in dysfunctional
Posts: 381

Bikes: Cannondale CAAD8, Trek SU200

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1042 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
So they can charge more for it.
__________________
We are all a litter of piglets in the barn fire of life - Piney McKnuckle
trsidn is offline  
Old 03-24-08, 02:48 PM
  #21  
DaveSANYYZ
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 2,698

Bikes: 1999 Norco ht mtb/2006 C'dale road bike/2007 Colnago CLX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Rob P View Post
At a local quick change oil place, I was having my Acura's oil changed and the tech there showed me what my tranny fluid looked like.

It was white/silverish which was very different then the regular red fluid he was trying to sell me. He said that my tranny fluid was bad and should be replaced with this red fluid. I of course said "no" and just got my oil changed.
I changed my 2002 Acura RSX 6-speed tranny fluid. The 6-speed had a problem with notchy shifting. The stock one (Honda-brand) is grey-silver'ish after a few hundred km's, whereas the one that I've changed to (based on user reviews from civics and rsx forums) is orange/yellow (Redline). The shifting did improve and I haven't noticed significant problems (car now has ~80k km).

There most likely are compatible fluids out there, but since most manufacturers didn't bother giving out the detailed specs of what is needed in the fluid, it's risky and expensive to make a mistake.
DaveSANYYZ is offline  
Old 03-24-08, 03:06 PM
  #22  
Hobartlemagne 
Spelling Snob
 
Hobartlemagne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Plano, Texas
Posts: 2,862

Bikes: Panasonic DX4000, Bianchi Pista

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The cheapest car maintenance is preventative.
__________________

The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!
Hobartlemagne is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Artkansas
Foo
16
11-29-13 04:25 PM
squegeeboo
Foo
73
10-04-07 04:27 PM
Smoothie104
Road Cycling
55
10-01-06 08:31 AM
smurfy
"The 33"-Road Bike Racing
1
08-05-06 07:58 PM
eatdirt22
Road Cycling
1
10-17-05 10:26 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.