Checking fluids is an important form of automotive maintenance. Unfortunately, however, it's also something that many drivers overlook. It's not until a problem occurs when they realize they are low on a particular fluid. You can prolong the life of your car and protect it from failure by checking the following fluids on a regular basis.
#1) Engine Oil
Perhaps the most important car fluid is engine oil. It's designed to absorb heat from the engine while lubricating and protecting the components from wear. You can easily check your engine oil by pulling the dipstick. Low engine oil is often a sign of an underlying problem, such as leaky camshaft or head gasket.
#2) Transmission Fluid
Like engine oil, transmission fluid is designed to lubricate parts while protecting against wear and overheating. The good news is that you don't have to change your transmission fluid as frequently as engine oil. Most automakers recommend a transmission fluid change about once every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, whereas engine oil should be changed about once every 5,000 miles.
#3) Brake Fluid
Brake fluid, also known as hydraulic fluid, is designed to lubricate the components of your car's braking system. Additionally, it transfers the force created when you press the brake pedal into force that stops your car. When you press the brake pedal, the calipers compress while squeezing your rotors. Brake fluid helps to facilitate this process, making it an essential element of a vehicle's braking system.
#4) Power Steering Fluid
Of course, power steering fluid allows you to easily turn the wheel. The power steering pump forces this fluid through your car's steering system, allowing for effortless turning of the wheel. If the power steering fluid gets low, you may struggle to turn your car, creating a dangerous scenario for you as well as other motorists on the road.
Coolant, often referred to as antifreeze, is another important fluid to check. It's responsible for absorbing heat produced by the engine and releasing that heat through the radiator. Most cars use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water as coolant. Normally, you shouldn't need to fill or "top off" your car's coolant. If there's a leak or some other problem with your car's cooling system, however, fluid levels may drop.
#6) Washer Fluid
The least important fluid in your car is washer fluid. It's used to clean the windshield when driving. You can buy washer fluid at most automotive stores, though you can also make your own using distilled water, soap and a few other basic ingredients.