For many of us, taking care of our vehicles’ fluids is “out of sight, out of mind.” However, the fluid is critical to the smooth operation of your vehicle, and if something goes wrong with it, your vehicle may not be able to start or, worse, become unsafe to drive on the road.
If you want your car to run smoothly for many years, you must take care of its fluids and maintain them properly.
The Importance of Car Fluids
The fluids in your car are its lifeblood. You must keep these fluids clean in order for your car to function properly. Maintaining your car fluids will not only allow your vehicle to run optimally, but it will also result in fewer repair incidents.
Here are some important fluids that affect your car’s performance and function:
- Engine Oil
Your engine oil is a type of lubricant that cleans and lubricates the internal workings of your vehicle. It flows through your engine and the turbochargers. Today’s engine oil is made up of natural base oils and a variety of additives that improve its performance.
It is critical to check your engine oil. Normally, you would have to park your car on a flat surface and wait for it to cool down. Then, open the hood, remove the dipstick, and wipe the oil off it. Replace the dipstick and pull it out again to see where the oil level on the stick reaches. The stick is marked with notches that indicate the minimum and maximum oil levels.
Previously, you had to change the engine oil every 3000 miles or three months. However, thanks to modern lubricants, most vehicles can travel up to 7,500 miles between oil changes.
It is best to have your engine oil checked every three months to ensure that everything is in order with this vital lubricant.
- Transmission Fluid
If your car’s transmission fails, it can be very expensive to repair. That’s why it’s critical to keep them lubricated. Transmission fluid keeps your vehicle’s gears running smoothly.
Some modern vehicles have transmissions that are designed to eliminate the inconvenience of changing transmission fluid. However, it is a good habit to eventually top-up or changes the transmission fluid in these vehicles, especially if the fuel appears dark and has a burnt smell. However, you gain the benefit of not having to do so for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of miles.
Because transmission fluid is located in a closed system, if you notice a leak, you should have it checked out by an automotive repair and services company right away.
- Power Steering Fluid
If you hear strange sounds coming from your steering wheel when you turn it, it could mean you’re low on power steering fluid.
Power steering fluid enables you to move your steering wheel smoothly. That is why it is critical to check this fluid once a month. One of the benefits of this fluid is that it rarely, if ever, needs to be completely flushed; however, you may need to top it up. You may only need to replace the fluid if your vehicle has traveled more than 50,000 miles.
The maintenance of your power steering fluid will differ depending on the make and model of your vehicle. You can learn more about your vehicle’s specific requirements by consulting its owner’s manual.
- Radiator Fluid
The radiator dissipates heat from the engine and keeps it cool. Driving any car can cause your engine to overheat, but it is especially true for performance vehicles. If you use your cart frequently, make sure your radiator fluids are at optimal levels; otherwise, you may notice smoke coming from the hood of your car as a result of heating and end up stranded on the side of the road.
Because the radiator’s contents are pressurized, make sure to let your engine cool before removing the radiator’s cap. If your coolant level isn’t nearly at the top, you’ll need to refill your radiator.
- Brake Fluid
When your car is racing down the highway, it must also be able to come to a complete stop at any time. This is only possible if your brakes are in excellent condition.
The braking system of a car is hydraulic, and it relies on fluid pressure to bring the vehicle to a stop. As a result, it is critical that your brake fluid is maintained and at an optimal level because it directly affects your safety.
The braking system is also a sealed system. So, if you’re running out of brake fluid on a regular basis, it could be a sign that you need new brakes. Furthermore, if the brake fluid appears brown rather than golden, it is time to replace it.
Typically, your brake fluid should be replaced every two years. However, it is a good idea to have it checked every time you change your oil.
- AC Coolant
In the summer, sitting in a hot and stuffy car can be extremely uncomfortable. So, if you want a cool ride, make sure your AC coolant, also known as a refrigerant or Freon gas, is in good shape. Checking this fluid requires specialized equipment and can be difficult, so hire a reputable auto service to do it for you.
If you want to do it yourself, you’ll need an AC gauge and a thermometer from an auto repair shop. If you discover that your coolant is low, you can easily recharge it with a few tools from the auto parts store.
- Windshield Washer Fluid
Having a clean and clear windshield improves visibility and driving safety. If you drive your car in areas where it is likely to collect a lot of dust and debris, windshield washer fluid can help keep your windshield clean.
It’s simple to check your windshield washer fluid. Most cars have reservoirs with a cap labeled “washer” or “windshield,” and you can check the fluid level by twisting off the cap. Handling the reservoir is not dangerous because the fluid is not hot or pressurized.
If you need more fluid, it is best to use a high-quality washer fluid rather than soap and water to remove dirt, droppings, bugs, or other road debris and refill the reservoir.
To ensure that your car runs smoothly, you must maintain all of the vital fluids in your vehicle. Whether you need to top off the fluid or completely flush it out, it is best to take your car to a reputable automotive repair and service company, and we at HEART Auto Care would be happy to help.
Our experienced and highly skilled staff can save you the trouble of checking and maintaining your vehicle and will ensure that all systems are configured for a safe driving experience. Come see us today!