Fluids of the car are just like the blood in your arteries, if you don’t check them regularly, you’ll get into trouble. Taking care of your car’s fluids adds to the value of your car and prolongs its life.
A car has several tanks for different oils and liquids.
What are these different mechanical fluids? What role does each of them play? Scroll down to find out!
The engine is made up of dynamic elements that must be constantly lubricated and cooled off. The purpose of engine oil is to grease these components and absorb the heat away so the moving parts don’t grind against each other causing damage.
Where is the engine oil and how do I check it?
Engine oil is one of the most well-known and widely used mechanical fluids. It is contained in a tube under the hood, not far from the engine.
To check its level:
- First, remove the dipstick that serves as a cover for the tube.
- Once removed, you should wipe it clean, then put it back into the tube
- After that, remove the dipstick again to clearly see the fluid level. You will then have to refer to the technical specifications in your owner’s manual for more information on what kind of oil you should use (synthetic, semi-synthetic, or mineral motor oil), how much to add, etc.
Usually, the check-up should be done before each ride. When you do so, it is also necessary to examine the color of the oil; if it is black or brown, then it is time to change the engine oil.
How often you replace your oil varies depending on the age and usage of your automobile. This process should be redone every 10,000 to 15,000 kilometers on average, or about once or twice a year.
You can find the brake fluid in a transparent reservoir under the hood. It is a hydraulic fluid responsible for transmitting the brake control each time the brake pedal is pressed.
It is very advisable that you regularly take a look at the reservoir, at least once every two or three months, to check the amount of remaining oil, because when it’s not enough, it leads to premature brakes, pad wear, and/or reduced braking quality. If you notice that the level is insufficient, you should top it up to the maximum recommended gauge.
In a good condition, the brake fluid is gold-colored and needs to be changed when it turns brown. For starters, it is forbidden to use a fluid other than the one you are already using as it can damage the braking mechanisms. Typically, it does not require replacement for about two years, but it’s best to contact your mechanic if you are forced to top up too often.
This mechanical fluid is contained in the expansion tank installed in the front of a car. As you can infer from its name, it is used to cool the engine and ensure that its temperature remains within the standards. Composed of mineralized water and antifreeze, it can withstand harsh temperatures.
Why and how to check the coolant?
Although this fluid is small in quantity, lack of it can cause the engine to overheat leading to disastrous consequences. Regularly checking your level is a preventive measure that must be done at least once a month. All you need to do is lift the radiator cap to see if you need to add more fluid. It is recommended to replace all of the fluid every two to three years or when you detect impurities.
Transmission fluid lubricates all components of a car’s transmission system. Without this fluid, shifting gears would be complicated, if not impossible.
It is useful to carry out this check once a month. Here’s how to do it:
- Start your car
- Remove the dipstick which serves as a cover for the tube containing the liquid
- Proceed exactly as when checking the engine oil level
- Examine the color of the liquid rather than the quantity
If it is not a brownish-red color, or if it smells burnt, then you need to change it. This fluid shouldn’t reduce in quantity as it is part of a closed system, but if you notice there is less of it than supposed to, then quickly go to a mechanic.
POWER STEERING FLUID
Only vehicles equipped with a hydraulic or electro-hydraulic steering system use this mechanical fluid. Without it, it will be impossible to smoothly turn the steering wheel of a car. It is located under the hood in a vase connected to the pump.
If you have trouble handling your steering wheel, then the volume of this fluid has dropped sharply due to a leak. Shifting gears, vibration, and grinding during gear changes are other signs that should alert you to check the amount of remaining clutch fluid. If it is too low, then you should add a compatible product to the vase, being careful not to exceed the maximum level.
Whatever work you do on your car, make sure to keep track of it. When you sell your car, the first thing a potential buyer will want to know is whether you’ve been taking good care of it. Don’t lose the upper hand and keep your papers organized!