I'm pretty sure my power steering fluid is low (and may even be leaking). I got the car used and I've been told that this model of BMW doesn't use standard power steering fluid. Does anyone know exactly what I should be buying to put into this car?


6 Answers 6


The BMW power steering reservoir usually say "ATF Only" on the caps as well.

(source: bokchoys.com)


Yes, use ATF(Automatic Transmission Fluid) instead of normal Power Steering Fluid.


As jzd mentioned for the 528i, I can confirm the same goes for the E46 3 Series as well for reference sake if someone comes across this like I did in search for 3 series information.


It requires (Automatic Transmission Fluid).

BMW has required ATF for Power Steering since the early 80's. Truthfully, power steering fluid wouldn't do a great amount of harm to the power steering system though. Power steering fluid and ATF are quite similar.


For the BMW 528i power assisted steering BMW specify Dexron II/CHF 7.1/11S. This particular oil will not deteriorate rubber seals in the system, nor re-act with metals in the system, it's useful life and performance are assured. Once upon a time automatic transmission fluid was just automatic transmission fluid, its not now. Stay safe, use the correct spec, a litre of Dexron will always be cheaper than a new rack or pump or an accident. If the system is leaking then it needs to be repaired. Leave the repair and you can bet your last dollar it is going to let you down at the worst possible time.


Dexron III has replaced Dexron II and works fine.
Also, my 1997 528i has had a slow power steering leak for years. Several BMW trained mechanics have given me the same advice - just keep topping it up. Instead of an expensive repair, a few dollars per year will keep your power steering going. The only downsides are possibly a small puddle on your garage floor and slightly more difficult steering if you forget to top it up. But you won't forget to top it up, because you will get plenty of warning as the steering wheel becomes tougher to turn and noisier as well.

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