Just like we need to stay hydrated as humans, there are several fluids that keep your car working and functioning at its best and most efficient. Knowing when to replace or top these fluids off is paramount to your car’s ability to run for the long haul.
Here are the five most important car fluids, and what to look for when you check them.
1.Engine oil. If the engine is your car’s heart, the oil is the blood. Without it, your engine will become heavily damaged and will eventually fail. Check your car’s oil dipstick once a month to ensure it’s not getting low. Some modern cars are no longer equipped with a dipstick, but instead use a computer to notify the driver when oil levels are low. Make sure you know where to be looking by checking your owner’s manual.
2.Coolant. The coolant (also known as antifreeze), keeps your car from overheating. Twice a year (once before summer and once before winter), remove the radiator cap to check the coolant level. When necessary, top it off. Replace the fluid altogether every 2-3 years (or as often as your user’s manual suggests).
3.Brake fluid. Brake fluid is part of a closed system, so you should never run low on it. Nonetheless, you should check your brake fluid every time you change your oil to make sure there aren’t any issues. Brake fluid should be a golden color – if it turns brown, it’s time to replace it (usually recommended about every two years).
4.Power steering fluid. Power steering fluid allows you to steer the car smoothly and easily. When this fluid gets low, you may notice that it’s more difficult to turn or you may hear some strange creaking sounds. You shouldn’t ever need to replace it, but most owner’s manuals do recommend topping it off occasionally. Check your owner’s manual for details.
5.Transmission fluid. Transmission fluid keeps the transmission lubricated and clean, and also helps cool the transmission. On average it’s a good idea to have yours replaced every 60,000 miles (check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations for your car). If you notice rust-colored drops on the ground, have your car looked at right away.
Do you have concerns about any of your car’s fluids? Give us a call at Don Wessel Honda today!