Your car, truck or SUV requires regular maintenance to stay running smoothly and to protect its mechanical parts from unnecessary strain and wear. Part of every car owner’s maintenance routine should be to periodically check and change the various fluids in your vehicle. Each fluid has a specific job to perform that helps your car run efficiently, and each fluid will need to be changed at differing intervals. This makes knowing what to look for when checking and flushing your vehicle’s fluids a crucial part of car maintenance.
One of the most common steps car owners take towards protecting their vehicles and keeping them on the road is to check and change their engine oil. Traditional wisdom has recommended that you change your motor oil every three months or 3,000 miles. However, newer model vehicles are becoming increasingly efficient and may require an oil change every, 5,000, 7,000 or 10,000 miles. Refer to your owner’s manual to learn more about your manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Often, we may overlook our windshield wipers and windshield wiper fluid. However, maintaining proper levels of windshield wiper fluid can help drivers stay safe by keeping their windshield clean. If your windshield wiper fluid is below the halfway mark in its tank, refill your fluid.
Just like the name sounds, coolant helps your engine stay cool while your car is running. Without coolant, your engine would overheat, resulting in severe damage that could total your vehicle. Coolant is stored in the radiator and should only be checked once the car has been off for a brief period and has cooled.
Your brakes are one of the primary safety systems installed in your vehicle, and without them, it would be dangerous if not impossible to drive. Brake fluid helps the hydraulic braking system in your car apply braking force, allowing the driver to control the speed of their vehicle and bring it to a complete stop. Your brake fluid should be a golden color and brake fluid that is brown needs to be replaced.
Power Steering Fluid
Much like brake fluid, power steering fluid enhances the ability of drivers to control their vehicles. Specifically, power steering fluid helps drivers make turns by offering hydraulic assistance that reduces the amount of energy it takes to steer a vehicle. Simply, the average vehicle weighs roughly two tons, and it would be challenging for the average person to maintain total control of a moving object of that size without mechanical assistance.
Your transmission performs a valuable function – it allows you to select the gear in which you want to drive. Whether your vehicle has a manual or automatic transmission, you will need to maintain the proper levels of transmission fluid. Without transmission fluid, your transmission would be unable to operate and your car, truck or SUV would be rendered undrivable. You will want to check the quality of transmission fluid rather than the quantity because it operates in a closed system. Transmission fluid should be a red color and fluid that is brown, black or smells burnt should be flushed and replaced.