You may be on top of the service intervals for your car, truck, or SUV every 5,000 or 10,000 miles, but what about the maintenance in between trips to the service department? One of the easiest ways to ensure your car is in good shape is by checking the vehicle fluid levels. Here is what you need to know about the six main fluids in your car and how to check them.
- Get Your Motor Running
A good place to start is by checking your engine oil level. Your engine should be cold, and the vehicle turned off, before you pull out the dipstick. Wipe it clean, insert it again, and pull it out to see the level. Make sure the oil hasn’t changed colors or has dirt or grit in it; if it doesn’t look clean, it may be time for an oil change.
- Keep Your Cool
Engine coolant is another important fluid to check to prevent your engine from overheating or freezing up in the colder months. If you can see the fluid level, be sure you have enough; you may need to add a mixture of diluted antifreeze if the level is low. A mechanic can also assist if you are unsure how to do it.
- You’ve Got the Power
Power steering fluid may be easy to spot in a reservoir near the bottom of the windshield under the hood. If your system does not have a dipstick to check, you may be able to tell how much fluid you have by looking at the reservoir itself.
- Get in Gear
Your automatic transmission fluid should be checked while the vehicle is on. Be sure you have the parking brake set while your engine is idling and check the dipstick to see if you have enough fluid. Newer car models may have a sealed transmission system which means you should a mechanic check it for you.
- Step on the Brakes
Look under your hood for the brake fluid reservoir and check the levels visually. If your brake fluid is low, you may want to have your brakes inspected in case you have a leak.
- Swish, Swish, Swish
Windshield wiper fluid may not seem so important until you can’t see through the dirt and have no way to clean it. You should keep the reservoir full, which is relatively easy to do, so just look at it and top it off if needed.
If you want to have a quick inspection of all your vehicle fluids at once, stop by Thompson Automotive. Our technicians can flush out fluids and perform inspections in between your service intervals. Contact us for your maintenance and repair needs.