According to a report from Fox News, many American car owners don’t know the basics of car care. Over half of car owners say they aren’t confident enough to perform an oil change. When it comes to car maintenance, however, even knowing how to conduct a basic engine oil check can go a long way in keeping you safe on the road.
Engine oil isn’t the only essential fluid that helps keep your car running, though. There are other car fluids that make a difference in keeping your car safe and road-worthy. In this article, we’ll list down the other types of car fluids you need to check and replace as part of your car care routine.
Your car’s engine can produce tremendous amounts of heat, and coolants help regulate the temperature. Coolants (or antifreeze) absorbs heat from the engine and cools it down through the car’s radiator. Without the right amount of coolant, your engine can overheat.
You should check your car’s coolant levels at least twice a year to ensure your vehicle has enough to keep the engine cool. It’s best to have the coolants changed every two years or at least every 75,000 miles.
Modern cars use hydraulic brakes, which use fluids to work properly. When a driver steps on the pedal, the fluids help the brake pads slow down the vehicle. If a car doesn’t have enough brake fluids, it could affect the braking system and lead to an accident on the road.
Brake fluid easily absorbs water which could lead to rust and corrosion. It’s common practice to check the brake fluid every time you have the engine oil changed. Brake fluids are generally replaced every 2 years or 30,000 miles or if they start emitting a burning smell.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid helps lubricate the power steering system making it easier to steer the car on the road. If your vehicle is low on power steering fluid, your steering wheel will start to jerk and shift while driving.
Fortunately, you can easily check the current level of the power steering fluid using a dipstick. After opening the hood, look for a cap labeled “STEERING” and use the dipstick to check the current level. If the level is low, top it off with some new power steering fluid.
It is advisable to completely replace the power steering fluid every 2 years or 30,000 miles.
Transmission fluid helps lubricate your car’s transmission systems. Whether you have a manual or automatic transmission, your vehicle still contains transmission fluid that needs to be replaced regularly. Running your vehicle with low levels of this fluid can cause extensive damage to the transmission systems, which can be costly to repair.
Similar to power steering fluid, transmission fluid can also be checked using a dipstick. Refer to your car’s manual to find where it is located under the hood. If your vehicle is running low on transmission fluid, replace it immediately.
It’s best practice to check the transmission fluid every six months, and most manufacturers recommend replacing it every 2 years or 30,000 miles.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Windshield washer fluids are often taken for granted since they do not directly affect your vehicle’s performance. However, this fluid is still an essential part of safe driving. Windshield washer fluids help clean dirt, mud, and grime that can obscure your vision while driving.
If your car is not spraying any liquid on the windshield, then it’s time to replenish the fluids. The windshield washer fluid container is found under the hood with a cap marked with “windshield” or “washer.” Simply pour your preferred windshield washer fluid product until the reservoir is full.
There is a wide variety of windshield washer fluids available, such as freeze-resistant fluids made explicitly for winter conditions. Never use water as a replacement, though; it encourages mold and bacterial growth.
Being familiar with these essential fluids can help you maintain your car’s performance and provide peace of mind while you’re driving. If you’re still unsure how to check your vehicle’s fluids properly, it’s always wise to seek professional assistance.
Auto Works of Brandon offers reliable auto care services like engine oil, brake fluid, and power steering flushing. If you want your vehicle’s fluids changed by a professional, contact us today to book an appointment and have our experts maintain your vehicle.