How to Check Your Vehicle’s Fluids

11/24/2017

The cars we use today are indeed far from what they used to be, say many decades ago. But even though they are more efficient and reliable, they're still not what we wish them to be: maintenance-free transportation machines. No matter how high-tech and modern your car is, it still needs your precious time and TLC. And one great way to keep your car running nice and smooth for a long time is to always check your car's essential fluids by yourself.

Since our cars are composed of different kinds of metal parts that constantly move and produce friction. Hence the need for continuous lubrication. Now we are not only talking about oil. There also other fluids that are important in maintaining fuel economy, right temperature, and even longevity. And even if you have absolutely no first-hand experience in maintaining and fixing cars, there's no need to fret because you can easily do this by yourself.

Having said that, we, Advance Car Wreckers, are here teach you how you could check the proper levels of your vehicle's fluids in between its service maintenance schedules. We are a reputable car removal and cash for cars Melbourne company that has been in the auto industry for more than 20 years. Our team of expert car removalists, mechanics, and recyclers have come up our own step-by-step guide so you can ensure the right amount and quality of the essential fluids in your car:

Before you check your vehicle's fluids, always remember to have your car parked on level ground and wait 'till your engine is cold enough. You may also want to wear gloves for extra protection, especially if it's your first time

Engine Oil

We really placed this one first as this is deemed to be the most important fluid in any type of vehicle. It is your car's bloodline for it lubricates all the car's moving internal parts. Checking this frequently is vital as letting it get below the minimum level will cause detrimental effects on your engine.

To check its level, simply find the oil dipstick. Remove and wipe it with a clean cloth, then put it back for you to get a clean read on the current level. Your dipstick should have maximum and minimum level indicators on it. Now once you remove the dipstick once again, hold it flat or in the same direction as you have pulled it so the oil won't run down and you'll get an accurate read. If it's below minimum, you may add more as long the oil's condition is still good. If it still has a yellow, amber, or light golden brown color to it, then you're good to go. Be careful not to overfill your engine oil.

Coolant

When you let your car run on low coolant levels, you are at risk of engine overheating. Thus, you also need to check this often. Your engine coolant or antifreeze can be really hot and under a lot of pressure. So be very careful as it can spray and cause a lot of burns. So remember to only do this very slowly AND on a cold engine.

Search for the clear overflow plastic container near your car's radiator. Through its translucent container you may already see if it's below the minimum mark or not. And once you see that is already below the minimum line, just fill it with a mixture of 50:50 water to antifreeze.

Power Steering Fluid

Power steering fluids of different manufacturers vary, some are even carcinogens, so it's better to keep yourself safe by wearing gloves. When your car runs on low power steering fluids, it can cause loss of steering assist and eventually to a total failure of the power steering system if neglected for a long time.

Most of the power steering reservoir caps have a built-in dipstick. If your car doesn't have that, you may easily check just by looking at the translucent reservoir to view the fluid level. So check it accordingly just as how you would check your engine oil and coolant. The level should always be between the minimum and maximum marks.

Brake Fluid

Without your car's brakes, that vehicle simply isn't eligible to be on the road. The brakes on the cars we use today are hydraulic. Therefore, the fluid connects the pedal to the brakes themselves. If while driving and you sense a delay or an unusual feeling while stepping on your brake pedal, the brake fluid is the very first thing you have to check. Over time, the brake fluid can be contaminated by water, which can cause your brake lines to rust - you don't want that. If the brake fluid level is too low, it'll cause loss of brake pressure or total brake failure.

To check its level, you just need to look for the brake fluid reservoir found in your engine bay. Checking it simply means just taking a good look at its level and color from the container that has level indicators. If it's below the minimum level mark, add more; but make sure that the type of fluid you'll put in is the same as what's already inside the container. Also, the fluid should be translucent, never cloudy and dark.

Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid lubricates every bit and component of your car's transmission system; just like what your engine oil does. Note that there are many transmissions that come with a "lifetime" fluid that never needs replacing - also the reason why some exclude this in the list of essential car fluids.. However, having a bad transmission fluid in your car can cause strange noises, uncontrolled surging, and rough shifting - making your drive less smooth and more difficult.

There are some cars that require a professional mechanic to inspect. But if yours has a dipstick in the transmission fluid reservoir, then you can check it yourself. The process is also the same as checking your engine oil. But one thing you have to remember when checking this is that you need to have your engine turned on and the transmission in Park or Neutral to be able to get an accurate read. You also need to inspect its color and condition. It should be smooth, and amber/red in color. If it's in a condition other than that, then have it inspected by your mechanic.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Some car owners or drivers deem this as less important. But you should know that in reality, it's the other way around. Visibility is key to safe driving. Thus, if you're unable to clear your windshield, especially in worst weather conditions, then you're simply putting yourself in serious danger. In addition, it's one way to keep an expensive windshield in tiptop shape.

Some say that female drivers only know how to deal with the windshield washer fluid. Well, this theory may be true simply because it's the easiest one to check - or rather, it really doesn't need careful inspection at all. Some cars have a sensor that will warn you the washer fluid is already low. But for most cars that doesn't have sensors or even level indicators, there's no need to worry as you can always top it up whenever you want. If you simply forgot when you last filled it, just fill its reservoir all the way to the top again. Overfilling won't cause any kind of danger to your engine.

Always keep in mind that because of advanced technology, the cars we use today have different requirements to keep the essential fluids in check. Thus, it is really important that you familiarise yourself with what your car really needs - simply by reading about it in your manual. And as a last expert tip: make record when you check and top up each of the fluids, so you could easily keep track. You may be dealing with one fluid more often that the others.

And albeit the fact that fuel or petrol is what keeps your car going, these other fluids simply shouldn't be neglected in any way. They wouldn't technically stop your car just like when you have an empty gas tank. However, they're just equally important in keeping your sweet ride as functional, reliable, efficient, and durable as ever.

Has your car engine or transmission system suffered from poor maintenance that even if all the essential fluids are always in proper levels, it doesn't run and perform the same as before? Then maybe it's about time you let go of it and give it a well-deserved rest. Advance Car Wreckers is a reputable Honda, Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi wreckers Vic company. Regardless of your vehicle's condition, age, model, and brand, we will gladly accept with open arms. And as our gift to you for choosing us over the other auto recyclers and car wreckers Melbourne has, we guarantee that you'll get fast and free cash for cars removal services along with a high amount of cash for your car. Call us now to sell your scrap cars for cash in an instant!