Preventive maintenance is key for any car owner who plans on keeping their car around for any extended period of time. Any responsible car owner is one who brings their car to have routine maintenance performed; regular oil changes; and checks tire pressure at least once per week. If the aforementioned qualities describe you, then congratulations, you are saving yourself heaps of money in the future; but, undoubtedly these qualities do not describe you, and don’t worry, you’re not alone. It is rare for car owners to adhere to the “responsible owner” handbook, and that’s how so many mechanics stay in business. However, it is always in your best interest to be informed about how to best take care of your car to avoid costly mechanic fees, and this includes, but is not limited to, being aware of the different basic fluids that your car requires in order to function on a day-to-day basis. The fluids in your car are considered to be essential to the overall life of your vehicle, and are the most critical element for owners to pay close attention to regularly. Here are some of the most common, and most important, car fluids that every car owner should know about.
First and foremost, motor oil. This effects major components of your vehicle all day, everyday. When things go wrong with the oil, it can cause long-term damage that is expensive to fix, and never a simple fix. The oil is responsible for lubricating all the important pieces of the engine; without this lubrication things begin to scrape, rub, and corrode. Sometimes oil may become contaminated from all the tiny fragments of pieces of engine parts that have scraped off; this can lead to further damage, as all those tiny fragments grind away at the vital pieces of your engine. The best way to stay on top of your oil level is to check it routinely—you are looking at the oil level, but also for a presence of debris. This can be a good indicator that something is wrong, allowing you to catch a problem early on before it begins a chain reaction of costly events.
Another fluid that is crucial to the well being of your vehicle is transmission fluid. Much like oil, transmission fluid is responsible for lubricating a vital part of your car: the transmission. This should be a clear fluid that may have a hint of pink in it, but should be free of debris. If there are particles of any kind in the fluid, you should take it in to be checked by a trustworthy mechanic as soon as possible. In addition to transmission fluid, radiator coolant is crucial to the life of your car. When your radiator fluid is clean and at the correct level, it keeps your engine from overheating when it has significant stress put on it. In warmer temperatures especially it is important to keep an eye on this fluid because it can be used in more quantity during times when the engine is working harder.
Brake fluid is another critical element to keep a watchful eye on. We all know what brakes do, and we all know what happens when they are not functioning properly. The brake fluid is what gives power to the vehicle’s braking force, and without it you could be in big trouble. You may have noticed that one of the reoccurring themes here is to keep debris out of the fluids; this is because fluids are meant to be uncontaminated by small particles that will harm the other moving parts of the vehicle over time, and can better do their job when they are kept clean and full. Of all the fluids to take seriously, brake fluid is just as important, if not more so. Your car manual is a good resource for finding out what types of fluids work best for your particular vehicle in addition to a maintenance schedule to adhere to for the best results. This is a helpful asset to those of us who may know a little less about automobiles. If you aren’t sure how to check any of these fluids yourself, finding a professional car service center is another important tool that any car owner needs in their arsenal. They can help you check your fluids regularly and be sure that they are working properly.