Your vehicle is an important asset that requires routine maintenance and responsible driving to perform safely, efficiently, and for many years. Among the various car maintenance requirements for all vehicles, regardless of make or model, automotive fluid management is arguably the most important task. Your vehicle requires 7 of them, all at once, without exception. Do you know what they are?
Continue reading to learn the seven essential automotive fluids every vehicle needs to drive safely and stay in good condition for years to come.
Your Vehicle Needs These 7 Car Fluids
Engine oil is of course one of the most well-known and significant fluids for cars and trucks. It lubricates all the inner workings and moving parts of a car engine’s crank case to reduce heat-causing friction. Without proper lubrication at all times, parts like pistons, valves, and more, are subject to damage. This renders a motor useless.
Depending on the make and model of your particular vehicle, the schedule for oil changes will vary slightly. Check your owners’ manual or consult a trusted local mechanic for information about your vehicle’s factory scheduled maintenance. Generally, motor oil should be changed every 5,000 or 6 months, whichever comes first.
Your vehicle’s coolant is a must, since without it, your car is sure to overheat. Radiator fluid, also called coolant or antifreeze, is a 50/50 combination of solution and water, and can come in a variety of colors depending on the brand and type you buy. It keeps the engine from overheating by circulating through the engine and collecting heat, returning it to the radiator, and then dispersing this heat outside. This should be changed as needed, depending on how often you drive and your driving habits. Generally, coolant should be changed every 3 to 5 months, or 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Most often forgotten or overlooked, windshield wiper fluid is an essential part of driver and passenger safety. This is a fluid anyone can re-fill themselves, as needed. Simply by this well-known blue solution at a gas station or auto parts store. Refill as needed.
Transmission fluid is red in color and very similar to motor oil in terms of its function. This is because it cools and lubricates the inner workings of a vehicle’s transmission. This keeps the vehicle’s gears in good condition, allowing for easy gear changes and functionality. Generally, this fluid should be changed one time per year. Again, check your owner’ manual, or download one online, for specific maintenance schedule information.
In terms of passenger safety, you might say brake fluid is the most important for a vehicle. Brake fluid allows for proper hydraulic functioning of the car brakes. When you push down on the brake pedal, the brake fluid compresses, sending hydraulic force to the brake pads and shoes, which provides the friction needed to stop a vehicle. Generally, brake fluid should be replaced every 2 years, or 30,000 miles. Check your owners’ manual for details.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid is pressurized by a small hydraulic pump that is powered by the vehicle’s engine. It allows the vehicle to turn easier. This fluid enhances the steering mechanism of a car or truck. Without it, it would feel as if the steering wheel weighs 100 pounds. Power steering fluid needs replaced generally every 4 years or 60,000 miles.
If your vehicle has a “maintenance-free” battery, then you will not be required to check its fluid levels. But for older model cars and trucks, batteries have individual cells that need to be refilled with battery fluid. This fluid, of course, maintains the car battery’s power, allowing for turning the ignition and starting the engine. Battery fluid should be changed generally every 6 to 8 months or 7,500 miles.
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