Your vehicle requires various essential fluids for optimum and safe performance with its components. Checking your vehicle’s fluids regularly can help you determine which maintenance services your vehicle needs before encountering any performance, safety, and operation issues. Here’s a guide from the team at Huffines CJDR Lewisville on the six car fluids that you should check routinely.
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One of the most important fluids to check regularly is your engine oil. The engine contains many complex moving parts, and the engine oil keeps everything lubricated. Letting your oil age beyond the recommended replacement date or mileage can cause impurities like dust and metal debris to build up in the engine, causing poor performance and even damage to these crucial parts. Driving with low or no oil is also harmful to the engine, so it’s important to stay on top of regular oil and filter changes.
Most auto manufacturers recommend an oil and filter change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the type of oil. Typically, synthetic engine oil lasts longer between changes, while real engine oil may frequently need a replacement. Discuss your automotive needs with qualified technicians to stay up-to-date on regular maintenance services.
The transmission fluid is also important to check regularly. Generally, keeping an eye on your transmission fluid level once per month is a good rule of thumb. You should replace the transmission fluid every 50,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on the type of transmission and your driving habits. Driving your car with a low transmission fluid reduces the amount of lubrication to the internal components like gears, clutches, and valves.
You can usually check the transmission fluid yourself for an automatic transmission, but you’ll need to access the plug under the vehicle if you drive a manual. You can definitely check manual transmission fluid levels if you have the proper tools, but bringing your car to your local service technician can save you time and hassle.
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Safe braking is critical to daily driving and long-distance trips. Optimum brake performance relies on the brake system’s components and the brake fluid. Your brake fluid is what transfers pressure and power to the brakes when you try to slow your vehicle down. Low brake fluid can pose a safety hazard by reducing the stopping power when applying the brakes, so it’s essential to regularly monitor this fluid.
Brake fluid replacement also depends on several factors, including your vehicle type, brake system, and driving habits. Service technicians typically check the brake fluid during routine oil changes and can tell you if you’ll need to have a fluid replacement. Generally, you can expect a full brake fluid and fuel filter replacement every four to five years.
The engine coolant, or antifreeze, is critical to moving heat and pressure away from the engine block to prevent overheating. The coolant reservoir is situated next to the radiator and doesn’t have a dipstick. To check your coolant level, you’ll have to unscrew the cap to the reservoir and ensure the fluid level sits between the maximum and minimum lines.
Be sure to only check your coolant when your vehicle is cold because the coolant contains high pressure and heat that can cause injuries if you open the cap while your car is still hot. When you check the antifreeze, look for grit, oily residue, and any other particulates or buildup in the fluid reservoir. If you see signs of dirt and debris, visit your local service center where a technician can inspect your vehicle and flush the cooling system as needed.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid is more of a hydraulic solution that pressurizes your steering system to make it easily maneuverable. Your power steering fluid is what allows you to control your car’s direction with little effort. You’ll certainly know it if your vehicle is low on power steering fluid because maneuvering your vehicle will feel like a lot of effort.
Checking your power steering fluid regularly ensures the steering system operates properly. Look for a cap under your hood labeled “Power Steering Fluid” or a steering wheel and waves symbol and pull out the dipstick. Wipe the stick clean and put it back into the reservoir and then check your fluid level. Add more fluid when the fluid is at or below the minimum level.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
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Even though your windshield wiper fluid isn’t essential to your car’s performance, it ensures your windshield is clear and free of debris that could inhibit your sight while driving. This fluid is also easy to top off, and you can find different types of washer fluid with rain-resistant and dirt-repellent properties.
Check your owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations for what type of windshield wiper fluid to use because you might find certain fluids are better suited to your vehicle. Look for the wiper fluid reservoir under the hood and add more if the level is below the minimum line or if the reservoir is empty.
Importance of Checking Your Vehicle’s Fluids
Checking your fluid levels is essential for maintaining your vehicle’s performance and longevity. Driving your car for too long in between fluid checks and changes can pose a risk to the integrity of the mechanical parts in the engine, transmission, brakes, and power steering system. Your service technician can help you determine a maintenance schedule for replacing critical fluids based on your driving habits, the vehicle’s age and mileage, and the manufacturer’s recommendations.
At Huffines CJDR Lewisville, our team of qualified service technicians is here to help you. Whether you need an oil change or a brake system flush, our service center is fully equipped to handle all your fluid checks and maintenance. Our service department also offers several discounts and maintenance specials, so if you’re in the Lewisville, Texas, area, give us a call to schedule your service with the expert technicians we have here at Huffines.