Just like you, your car needs the right levels of fluids to run properly. Unlike you, your machine can’t compensate for those fluids. It will try to give you warnings, but as it runs dry, costly damage begins. Avid Autowerx wants to remind you to keep these fluids in mind as things get busy in life, because they can be important and lead to expensive headaches down the road. And most can be monitored just with a quick look under the hood of the car once a month, giving you peace of mind and a sense of being sympatico with your primary means of transportation!
Coolant/Antifreeze - This is the most important fluid to monitor. Service centers recommend keeping an eye on it every two weeks, especially in bouts of extreme weather. An engine head cracked because there was no antifreeze or coolant left is a dead engine. This is fairly easy to check in most models, because the radiator’s reserve tank is usually in an easy-to-see place. It should be flushed every 30,000 miles.
Oil and lubricant - It’s generally recommended to change oil and filter every 5,000 miles. This is the second most vital of your fluid factors, because of the damage it can do to your automobile if left unchecked, and it’s constant wear. While an oil check is easy to do, and the color of the oil is a clue-in to how soon you need the work done, And, of course, beware of putting too much oil in your car! The results are disastrous.
Transmission fluid - For automatic transmission cars, this should be a high priority. Transmission fluid is vital to keeping your car in gear with smooth transitions as you change speed. Find the stem and check both the level and color of your transmission fluid. Some manual transmissions function better with motor oil than transmission fluid, so it’s important to note what your manufacturer recommends for your make and model. Transmission fluid should be checked once per year, and replaced every 30,000 miles.
Power Steering - Turn response is one of those elements that you might not think of until you don’t have it, and then it’s a disaster. As with oil and transmission, there is usually a dipstick to check the level, often built into the cap. You should do your own check of it with the oil level before taking long trips, although it probably will last you a good 50,000 miles.
Brake Fluid - This is an easy one-- you don’t want to be out on the interstate at 65 miles per hour and out of brake fluid. Your car’s brake fluid usually has no set date for expiry, but it might be a safe bet to have it changed every 20,000 miles, as Mercedes-Benz recommends with their models. To know when to start looking at making a change, CarCashBuyers.com suggests looking out for the following signs: pedal problems with an off sense of pressure, the brake pads making noises or not functioning at their usual best, a strange chemical order, or the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) warning light coming on.
Wiper Fluid - Of course, everyone knows to do this, because we all deal with particles, bird guano, and various grit on our windshields from time to time and need wiper fluid to remove it while the car is in motion. But given that it is less about the function of the car and more about operating it, some drivers think of it in the same way they think of gas, only filling it as they notice it is low. Wiper fluid plays a vital role in keeping clear optics! If an unchecked paint can falls off a truck ahead of you, or a swarm of lovebugs should suddenly collide with your windshield, it’s important to have that wiper fluid in your wiper fluid reservoir, and not sitting in your garage for later.
R-134 (A/C) - You and your passengers -- adults, kids, pets -- have to survive long trips. Keep an eye on your air conditioner’s performance. If you’re using your climate control heavily, expect to need to update it every two years at minimum.
With just a little weekly attention to the fluids, you can keep them all in check, yellowing you to maintain your car in better health and feel confident in the condition and safety of your commute. As always, Avid Autowerx wants to be your home for autocare… if you are experiencing issues and you feel a fluid imbalance might be to blame, call us at (513) 657-2386 or visit our appointments page to arrange an inspection!