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2009 Chevy Impala Police - 85k miles
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I have a 2009 Impala Police Package. My rack and pinion and power steering pump were replaced by my mechanic. He refilled the system with ATF as he insisted that that's what GM vehicles use. I've previously filled the system with regular Prestone power steering fluid. Which is correct?
 

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I have a 2009 Impala Police Package. My rack and pinion and power steering pump were replaced by my mechanic. He refilled the system with ATF as he insisted that that's what GM vehicles use. I've previously filled the system with regular Prestone power steering fluid. Which is correct?


As always - read your vehicle owner’s manual. GM does NOT specify ATF for the power steering system, but rather power steering fluid that meets a specification #89021186 (you would have to read the Prestone bottle to determine if it meets GM specification).
 

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I believe it is more about profit than actual need...ATF works fine for seals, high temperatures and gears and was always used years ago. I have used it with out issue in p/s systems. Oh and make sure you ALWAYS use HARLEY OIL in your Harley.
 

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I believe it is more about profit than actual need...ATF works fine for seals, high temperatures and gears and was always used years ago. I have used it with out issue in p/s systems. Oh and make sure you ALWAYS use HARLEY OIL in your Harley.


The OP asked which fluid is correct to use in their 2009 Impala power steering system.

GM’s recommendation regarding the correct fluid is not about profit - it is about meeting an engineering specification to ensure proper operation. GM’s recommendation does not state to buy GM fluid - it states to use a fluid that meets their specification.

The cost of automatic transmission fluid is comparable to power steering fluid. If automatic transmission fluid is used in certain model power steering systems, it does not mean it should be used in all power steering systems.

Harley oil has no bearing on GM’s recommendation for the correct fluid to use in their power steering system for the 2009 Impala.
 

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2009 Chevy Impala Police - 85k miles
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I believe it is more about profit than actual need...ATF works fine for seals, high temperatures and gears and was always used years ago. I have used it with out issue in p/s systems. Oh and make sure you ALWAYS use HARLEY OIL in your Harley.
"ATF was always used years ago." Correct. In vehicles that called for it. ATF and PS fluid are somewhat interchangeable, and have a lot of the same characteristics, but they are by no means identical. I believe PS fluid is higher viscosity for example.
 

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Thanks for GIVING me a CORRECT.
[I do know what I am talking about. My experience is as a MASTER TECH, Service Manager, QUALITY CONTROL INSPECTOR at factory, Motor Vehicle Warranty Auditor for manufacturers, Regional District Manager in automotive field 🚗 I speak from real world experience.]

My point is ATF will not hurt system on GM system.

Can you use Transmission Fluid in a Power Steering Pump?
Most of the vehicle manufacturers design their steering systems to run under specialized PS fluids to give best results. There are also some systems that even use automatic transmission fluids for their power steering.
They usually have the words ‘Use automatic transmission fluid’ or ‘Use Dexron’ or ‘Use Mercon’ inscribed on the fill cap or in the owner’s manual. ATFs offer the advantage of having detergents in them which help keep your system clean.
It is safe and okay to use automatic transmission fluid on the systems that are designed to run on them. However it should not be used on systems that specifically require power steering fluid.
Besides, the recommended power steering fluids are not so expensive and are as easily available as tranny fluids. So you do not end up saving money by using an ATF in your power steering system.
The only instance it may be okay to use transmission fluids in a steering pump is during an emergency. And if done, the steering pump may work only for a short time.
It may soon lead to problems in the steering parts. The only models that permit using transmission fluids in the steering pump are Chrysler, Ford, and GM vehicles.
 
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