Fluids. It’s an important aspect for many things in life but even more important for your significant, expensive, and easy to break down investment: a car. Car fluids have a tendency to decrease over time or become dirty, which is a hazard to the components the fluid is used for. Some recent statistics show that some car owners operate with less than optimal fluid:
- In a recent car maintenance survey, research found that 16% of vehicles had inadequate cooling protection or low coolant levels.
- In a recent car maintenance survey, research found that 18% of vehicles had low or contaminated brake fluid.
There are tips and methods of handling fluids but it’s important to start off with why these fluids are integral to the function of the car. Here is a quick list.
- Oil keep the moving parts in your car engine lubricated. Without oil, the parts may grate together, cause overheating, or cause the engine to seize up. This can total an engine, costing the owner thousands of dollars.
- Radiator fluid keeps the engine from overheating. Without radiator fluid, your car may overheat and leave you stranded on the side of the road or worse–shut down in the middle of the street, blocking traffic.
- Transmission fluid keeps your transmission located. Considering the transmission is the part of the engine that controls speed, RPM, and gears, damaging this particular part of the engine will cost thousands of dollars.
- Power steering fluid keeps your power steering lubricated, which means you’ll have much better control over the wheels of the car with it running properly. Lose this piece and you run into the risk of an accident.
- Brake fluid adds power to your braking; without saying, if you run low on this type of fluid, you may find yourself unable to break quickly, which could lead to an accident and costly damages to your car and someone else’s.
- Air conditioning coolant keeps you air conditioning running smoothly. While perhaps not as significant as the other fluids mentioned prior to this, the air conditioning coolant keeps you feeling refreshed on a hot summer day.
- Washer fluid works together with your windshield wipers to eliminate dirt and grime from your windshield, keeping it clean and enabling you to see better while driving.
It goes without saying that many of these fluids are integral to the functioning of the vehicle and that, without them, there might be the risk of hurting the engine or another major part of the car. Because they are so important, knowing how to check the fluid levels yourself will help you figure out when to take the car into the shop–or do the maintenance yourself.
The truth is, when it comes to fluids within cars, simple knowledge is better than letting things run their course. So when it comes to checking the fluids in your car, do it regularly even between tune-ups. Here is a quick guide to how to check the fluids in your car.
First, you want to look in your owner’s manual for a schematic of your engine. It should tell you where every part of your engine is, including the oil well, the transmission, the radiator, the windshield wiper fluid, and more.
When it comes to the oil, let your car run for a few minutes before checking. Oil needs to be checked when it is slightly warm, though not when it’s hot. For the rest of the components, check after the car has cooled.
Checking the contents usually involved either using a dipstick, which is located under the hood of your car or simply looking and gauging how much fluid is in there. When it doubt, like antifreeze, go to your local auto shop to buy some.
The wiper blades are an important component to the car, especially with winter coming up. All season wiper blades are good for handling ice during winter, unlike regular blades. All season wiper blades are also good for managing snow and other winter elements, which can turn ugly when the temperature dips.
If you’re looking for a good alternative to your regular wiper blades for winter–try the all season wiper blades, which many manufacturers make. Remember that all season wiper blades are not a catch-all but they can help improve visibility.