Understanding Your Vehicle’s Engine Fluids 101

If you’re like most drivers, you probably don’t think about what’s under your vehicle’s hood until something is wrong. Often problems can be caught in advance if you stay up on your car maintenance schedule to make sure everything is running smoothly. Perhaps the most important things to check are your fluid levels.

Keeping Your Car’s Engine Running Smooth

From an article on wikiHow, we found some helpful tips to make sure your fluids are keeping your engine working like a smooth machine should. The best way to locate these fluid receptacles is by using your manual as many automobile engines a just a bit different.
engine

  • Motor oil:
    This oil helps to keep your engine cool, rust-free and moving smoothly. Once your car has cooled for about an hour, check the color and levels of the oil. You want the oil to be a clear, golden color and between the two notches on the dipstick. If the oil is very dark or low, it is time for an oil change.
  • Transmission Fluid:
    Like motor oil, this fluid keeps your gears cool and helps them shift smoothly. The fluid should be a reddish color and, again, the levels should be between the two notches on the dipstick. Your transmission shouldn’t need to be changed too frequently, but consult your manual to see the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Brake Fluid:
    This fluid is very important because without it you wouldn’t be able to stop! The yellow color of the fluid should be visible through its container, but you may need to wipe away some of the dirt and grime to check its level. If it’s very low get to your mechanic quickly as you likely have a leak in one of your lines.
  • Power Fluid:
    Similar to other fluids, power steering fluid helps to lubricate the steering gear and makes it easier to turn the wheel. You can check the levels the same way you did your brake fluid and simply add more if needed.
  • Coolant or Antifreeze:
    Make sure your engine is completely cooled off before checking your coolant; otherwise you could have scalding hot water spray on you. Once cool, simply open the cap and take a look at the levels. If low, simply add the appropriate mixture for your car. Make sure you read the bottle as some don’t need water added and some do.
  • Washer Fluid:
    Last, but certainly not least, is your washer fluid. This is probably the only fluid that people commonly check as it is the one you use most frequently. Some people use just plain water, but the problem is that it can boil and freeze and cause major damage. If this describes you, you’ll want to replace it with the appropriate fluid, one that has antifreeze in it. Most also contain ingredients to help clear dead bugs off your windshield too!

As We See It

Properly maintaining your vehicle will help you get the best value out of it when it’s time for you to sell or trade in for a newer vehicle. If you worry you’ll never be able to get into a new automobile because of bad credit, don’t worry! Here at Auto Credit Express, we specialize in helping customers like you to get into a car you’ll love despite having credit problems. Our online application is easy to complete and our friendly staff is here to help you find a dealer in your local area that will be happy to finance you. Apply today!

Posted on January 7, 2014 by in Car Maintenance
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