One of the best things you can do for your car is to check the vital fluids on a regular basis. The definition of “regular” is different for every car. Check your owner’s manual or look online for a service schedule for your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
Keeping fluids up to date will keep your car running well and reduce long-term maintenance costs. If you have to top up the fluids more often than what’s recommended in your owner’s manual, have the car checked at your local Tire Pros to see if there’s a leak.
Here’s a look at six fluids in your car you should check often:
Engine oil may be the most important fluid on the list. It lubricates the moving parts inside your engine. Without it, your engine will run roughly and eventually quit working. Check your owner’s manual for the oil change interval, and check the oil at least one time in between oil changes. You can check the oil yourself, usually when the engine is cold and not running. Adding a quart of oil a few times a year in between oil changes is not uncommon for older or high mileage cars. Any more than that could be the sign of a problem.
Automatic Transmission Fluid
Some cars have lifetime transmission fluid so it won’t need replacing for 100,000 miles or more. But it’s worth checking once a year to make sure the level is where it should be. Some cars don’t come with a dipstick, so ask your Tire Pros technician to check it for you.
Also known as antifreeze, engine coolant keeps your car running in hot and cold weather. Check the antifreeze level every twice a year, before heating season and cooling season starts. On many cars, you can check the level by looking at a clear plastic coolant reservoir under the hood. If you have an older car, remove the radiator cap when the car is cold. Some caps have a small dipstick to show you the level.
While you’re under the hood checking the coolant, take a look at the brake fluid as well. Check your brake fluid at every oil change or at least once a year. You’ll usually find it in a clear plastic container on top of the master cylinder mounted to the firewall in front of the steering wheel.
Power Steering Fluid
Check the power steering fluid once a year. Its reservoir is usually near the brake fluid reservoir. If there’s a clear reservoir, you can see the fluid level inside. If you have to open the reservoir to see inside, wipe the lid off with a rag so dirt doesn’t fall into the fluid when you lift off the cap.
Windshield Washer Fluid
You may use the washers more often than you realize, so check it once a month. You can add washer fluid yourself. Check the fluid level often during the rainy and winter season where you live. Also, check it before you head out on a long drive. If you live in a dry area like Arizona, you may go months without using your windshield wipers.
If you have any questions or are ready to have your car serviced, check with your local Tire Pros for fast, friendly service.