Car Maintenance: 6 Fluids You Need to Check

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Car Maintenance: 6 Fluids You Need to Check

If you are looking for easy ways to make your vehicle more efficient and reliable, regularly changing your car fluids is a great place to start. You probably already know the importance of getting your engine oil changed regularly, but did you know that there are several other car fluids that should also be checked frequently?

Here are the 6 essential car fluids you should check regularly:

1. Engine Oil

Regular oil changes are necessary to keep your engine nicely lubricated.  At Optimum Auto Service, we recommend getting your oil changed every 4,000 to 5,000 km for regular oil or every 8,000 to 10,000 km for synthetic oil (depending on the make, model, and year of your vehicle). Going too long between oil changes can increase engine wear and decrease fuel economy.

You should check your oil after driving your car around for a short while. After going for a short drive, wait five minutes for your car to cool down.  Next, lift your hood and pull out the oil dipstick, using a cloth or towel to wipe it.  After dipping it fully into the oil tank, pull it out and see where the oil line is. Your oil levels should be within the notches.  If your oil is below this level, it’s time to either top up your oil or to get an oil change.

2. Power Steering Fluid

Power steering fluid makes it easier for you to turn your steering wheel. When your car’s power steering is well lubricated, it gives you more power to control your car’s wheels. Although there is no timeline for how often you should replace your power steering fluid, regular vehicle checkups can help ensure that your vehicle is running smoothly.

To check this fluid, find the dipstick or reservoir in your engine bay.  Next, either remove the dipstick or check the markings on your power steering reservoir. If the power fluid level is low, you can top it off with the type of fluid specified in your vehicle manual. It is important to use the specified type of power steering fluid because using a different type of fluid can lead to damage to your vehicle.

3. Brake Fluid

The brake fluid in your car lubricates your brakes, helping to prevent you from running into other vehicles. Your vehicle’s brake system is the most important safety system of your car, so it is vital that you periodically check on it.

To check your brake fluid levels, unscrew the cap of your brake fluid reservoir, or use a screwdriver to pry off the clamp holding the cap down.  Next, peek inside to see if the fluid is within a half-inch of the cap.  If the fluid is any lower than this, you should add the type brake fluid recommended by your owner’s manual. If your brake fluid is dark in colour, you should bring your car into your nearby auto mechanic shop to have your brake fluid replaced.

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4. Radiator Fluid

Your car’s radiator fluid, also called coolant, helps prevent your engine cool.  To prevent your car from overheating, it is vital to make sure you have proper coolant levels, all year round.

To check your radiator fluid, start by taking your car out for a short drive.  It is crucial to remember that the radiator contents are pressurized, so make sure that the engine isn’t hot or running before removing the cap.  You can carefully use a rag to open the radiator cap.  Next, peer inside to see if you can see the coolant near the top.  If the coolant isn’t near the top, it’s time to add some more.

5. Transmission Fluid

Your vehicle’s transmission fluid acts to keep your transmission lubricated, which prevents car damage from occurring.  If your vehicle is operating normally, your transmission fluid level should remain relatively stable.  If your fluid level is low, this could mean there is a leak somewhere and it’s recommended that you bring your car into your local mechanic shop to have it addressed.

To check your transmission fluid level, remove the dipstick and wipe it down with a rag.  Next, put it in your transmission tank and pull it out to see whether the fluid level is high enough.  If the fluid is pinkish or clear in colour, this indicates that the fluid is still of good quality.  To check the colour, rub a bit around between your fingers. If the fluid has a burnt smell, or you notice particles in it, then it’s time to have your transmission fluid changed.

6. Windshield Washer Fluid

While windshield washer fluid may not impact the performance of your car, it does impact your personal safety.  It’s a good idea to frequently check your windshield fluid levels to make sure you have enough, particularly in springtime when the changing conditions make a dirty windshield more likely.

Maintaining your windshield washer fluid is easy.  Simply pick up a jug of washer fluid from a nearby auto supply store or gas station. Next, fill your windshield washer reservoir up to the top and replace the cap.

Regular vehicle maintenance, including fuel checks, can help ensure that your vehicle is running smoothly, and it can help prevent more expensive car repairs down the road.  To make sure you are checking your fluid levels, it can help to add it to your calendar in your phone or to call your auto body shop to schedule regular vehicle maintenance. And remember, if your car is making any unusual noises, is vibrating, or it is giving off a strange odor, it is best to see an experienced mechanic who can fix the problem.

Fluid Level Changes at Optimum Auto Service

Want to keep your car in good working order, all year-round? Call Optimum Auto Service today to have your cars fluid levels checked and to schedule regular maintenance appointments. Located in the city of Edmonton, Optimum Auto Service also provides car repairs, vehicle inspections, and various tire services.