One of the most important parts of owning a car is keeping up with regular services and maintenance. As such, flushing and replenishing car fluids on a routine basis is important to your vehicle’s overall performance. Just like your body needs water to perform at its best, your automobile needs fluids to run smoothly.
Most drivers in Plano, Texas, know that regular oil changes are needed for good auto maintenance. However, several other fluids also play key roles in your vehicle’s ability to function. If these fluids lose quality or run dry, your ride could experience reduced gas mileage, resale value, and performance, as well as increased repair costs and risk of accident or breakdown.
Read on to learn which automotive fluids you should regularly check as part of your auto maintenance routine.
Image via Flickr by Nagy David
Oil is among your vehicle’s most important fluids; it prevents friction inside the powertrain and makes sure everything runs smoothly. It also prevents heat damage to the moving components in your engine, and its cleaning properties can help reduce grime from blocking the engine openings. Driving with low or no engine oil can cause serious damage to your drivetrain.
Most vehicles have a dipstick in the engine bay that lets you quickly inspect the oil. A low level could be a sign that your powertrain is burning oil or leaking, which can cause severe damage if neglected. Oil quality is also crucial and to check it, smear some of the oil between your fingers. It should feel smooth and slippery. If you notice any grittiness or particles, moving parts are wearing down, which could be a big problem.
Also known as antifreeze, the engine coolant flows through your car’s engine to maintain a nominal temperature range, preventing it from overheating. The engine coolant not only protects against heat but also helps protect your vehicle during winter since it’s resistant to freezing. Without coolant, your vehicle’s engine would reach temperatures beyond its tolerance level.
Checking your coolant level is very easy, as the reservoir is translucent and has maximum and minimum markings on its side. You’ll be able to see when the fluid is running low so you can refill it.
Power Steering Fluid
Generally, this is one of the most forgotten-about fluids. Power steering fluid helps to reduce the effort needed to turn the wheels, so if you’re having trouble turning your wheels your power steering fluid may need to be topped up. There is no recommended time frame for replacing the power steering fluid, but you should still have it checked and topped off.
Like with other automotive fluids, the power steering fluid has a tank or dipstick in the engine bay. The procedure is the same in that you’ll check the markings on the reservoir or remove the dipstick. If it’s low, go ahead and top it off with some quality power steering fluid defined for your car to avoid damage.
Your brakes are perhaps the most important part of your car, so it’s only necessary that they should also be checked regularly. The main purpose of brake fluid is to keep your car’s brakes functioning correctly. So, if there is ever something “off” about your brakes, this is probably the first thing you should have checked by a professional.
Low brake fluid can result in poor braking performance and potentially dangerous situations, so it’s very important to keep brake fluid levels sufficient. The brake fluid reservoir is normally in the back of the engine compartment. The brake fluid level should be within a half-inch of the cap.
Transmission fluid makes sure that your vehicle runs efficiently. Checking the transmission fluid is similar to checking the engine oil. However, you have to check the transmission fluid while the engine is still running. You’ll need to check the quality of the fluid instead of the volume. To inspect the quality, pay attention to the color of the fluid.
If your fluid is of good quality, it should have a reddish-pink color; if it’s brownish-red, it needs replacement. If the fluid is black or dark brown, you’ll most likely be replacing more than just your transmission fluid.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Unlike other fluids in this list, windshield washer fluid doesn’t affect your vehicle’s actual performance. However, you still want to check levels regularly since it’s very useful to help you see while you’re driving. Windshield washer fluid is made of powerful ingredients that can help break down the grime, residue, and tough dirt that latches onto your windshield.
Fortunately, it’s the easiest fluid on this list to obtain and utilize. Also, checking the washer fluid level is easy. The reservoir is conveniently located underneath the hood, so it should be easy to fill up. Depending on where you live, you may need to switch to freeze-resistant fluid during winter.
Signs Your Car Needs Fluid Service
If you notice any of the following problems, fluid issues are likely the cause. Visit our service center to have one of our technicians examine the problem.
- Dashboard warning lights. If the “oil” or “check engine” warning lights are illuminated, get your ride checked right away.
- Problems when shifting. If you hear a squealing or grinding noise while shifting, it may signify an issue with your transmission fluid.
- Puddles in the garage or driveway. If you’re always finding puddles of dark fluid in your driveway or garage, you’ve got a problem.
- Vehicle overheating. If your ride keeps overheating, you probably have a coolant problem.
Is your car leaking fluid? Is your coolant or power steering fluid low? Don’t wait until it’s too late to resolve the issue. Bring your vehicle to Huffines Chevrolet Plano, and our expert technicians will diagnose the issue and service all of your fluid and repair needs. Be sure to check out our inventory of used and new Chevrolets, schedule service, and apply to get pre-approved for auto financing. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.