Checking your engine’s essential fluids in-between routine checks is a great way to keep your car in good running shape. It’s an inexpensive and simple way to prevent reduced gas mileage and power, as well as maintain your vehicle’s resell value. This will also help keep future repair costs down, and decrease the risks of breaking down. A little DIY car maintenance can go a long way by checking your car fluids, so which ones should you be focusing on?
Essential car fluids to check
Your engine oil is the most important fluid to check. Its role is to lubricate all moving parts of your engine to reduce friction. Before checking your oil, you should check your owner’s manual and ensure that you have the correct oil on hand.
Take your car for a drive so that the oil warms up a little. Stop the engine and let it cool off for a few minutes, and make sure you’ve parked your car on level ground. Remove the dipstick from the compartment, wipe it clean and push it all the way in again. Wait a few seconds to take it out, and when you withdraw it, check the level. The oil should be between the two marks.
Make sure that when you do this, you’re checking both the oil’s quantity and quality! If there are bubbles on the stick and the oil contains thick deposits, it means it’s contaminated and will need to be replaced.
An engine’s coolant is a substance that is used to regulate the temperature of a car. During hot summer months it keeps your car from overheating, and during the winter it keeps it from freezing. Checking your coolant’s level is very easy to do, as the coolant tank is usually translucent and has minimum and maximum markings on its side. You will be able to see when the fluid is running low so you can fill it up.
As your brake pads wear, your break fluid level usually goes down. Brake pressure pushes fluid down to your brakes, which then pushes the pads onto the disc brakes to slow your car down. Simply put, if you don’t have brake fluid, your brakes won’t work. When you top up your brake fluid, you should ensure that you are not getting any grease or oil mixed in with the fluid. Also remember to handle it with care as it is one of the more toxic fluids to handle.
Power Steering Fluid
Just like the engine needs lubrication from oil to keep things running smoothly, the power steering system also requires assistance of a lubricant to function properly. To check your power steering fluid, locate the reservoir and confirm it is the power steering fluid by looking at the label on the cap. If your reservoir is made of clear plastic, you will clearly see the current level of the fluid. If the reservoir is made of metal and is difficult to read, use the provided dipstick to check the indicator lines.
Transmission fluid serves both as an oil and as a hydraulic fluid that helps gear shifting, cools the transmissions and lubricates moving parts. Checking your transmission fluid is very similar to the procedure used to check your engine’s oil. You should consult your user’s manual to see whether your vehicle should be turned off or on during the process.
Windscreen Washer Fluid
Windshield fluid is not as crucial in maintaining your car’s health as other fluids, but it still comes in handy. If you run out of windshield fluid, it won’t cause any other elements to fail. It will just prevent you from being able to wash any debris, dirt and insects away while you’re driving. If you live in cold temperatures, we recommend not using water due to the possibility of freezing.
Checking all of these fluids regularly should help in maintaining your car in tip-top condition!