Beyond gas, many drivers aren’t aware of the essential fluids that need to be replaced or topped up for proper automotive maintenance. These fluids perform a variety of tasks, from extending the lifespan of different parts to improving the comfort and efficiency of your vehicle. Learn more about the essential car fluids and chemicals and learn when you need to replace or fill up each one.
First and most important on the list is motor oil. Without clean, reliable motor oil your engine will quickly seize up. Traditionally, the recommendation has been to replace your motor oil every three months or 3,000 miles. However, advances in oil and engine design have made this rule of thumb not always accurate. Check with your local auto shop for replacement schedule recommendations.
It’s important to keep your oil topped up. Some cars burn through oil, so make it a routine to check your dipstick to see if your oil is within the proper limits. Don’t check your oil if your engine has been running in the past 10 minutes, as hot oil won’t always give a proper reading.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Another fluid you’ll be regularly replacing is windshield washer fluid. If your car has ever been splashed with mud or coated with dust then you know the importance of a full windshield washer fluid reservoir. Find out how to check your reservoir and fill it up if it’s getting low. This fluid is affordable and typically comes in large containers, so it’s useful to have extra on hand.
While transmission fluid is one of the most critical fluids in your vehicle it’s also one of the most difficult to inspect. Because many vehicles require you to open up the transmission to inspect fluid levels and consistency, you’ll probably need to call your mechanic to check up on your transmission fluid.
Because your brakes are hydraulic, you’ll need to have the proper amount of brake fluid in order to use your brakes. Any signs of unusual brake activity, such as a delay or difficulty in stopping, could be attributed to your brake fluid. You can typically refill your brake fluid, but it’s a good idea to completely replace this essential fluid if it becomes too dark and cloudy.
Power Steering Fluid
Just like brake fluid, power steering fluid is vital for safe operation of your vehicle. Extreme resistance to turning is the most common sign that you need more power steering fluid. Just like engine oil there are many specific types of this fluid, so it’s best to buy from a trusted local auto store.
Coolant and Freon
Finally, keeping you and your vehicle cool as you cruise down the road are the jobs of coolant and freon. Freon for AC allows this convenient system to keep you cool on sweltering days, and coolant plays the same role for your engine.
Keep your car safe and on the road with timely replacements and refills of these important fluids. For more information about maintenance schedules or the best brands of car fluids, stop by your local auto store.