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What Your Car's Different Fluids Do

Most people have a basic understanding of gasoline (whether unleaded or diesel) and that you need to keep refilling it to keep your car running. In this article, we want to focus on your vehicle's other important fluids. This will help you identify which is which in case there is a leak, while also understanding the fluid maintenance needs of your car.

1. Engine Oil (or Motor Oil)

Ultimately, this is the most important fluid in your vehicle because it keeps all the vital parts of of your engine properly lubricated. You'll want your oil and oil filter changed every 3,000-5,000 miles. Engine oil is typically a light tan/brown in color. Use your dipstick to check the level and consistency of the fluid. If it is low or looks extra thick or black, you should have it checked out.

2. Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is usually a bright red in color. There will be a separate dipstick in your engine compartment that allows you to check the level and consistency of the transmission fluid. You should have a standard transmission service every 25,000-50,000 miles (depending on your driving habits/conditions and manufacturer maintenance recommendations). Your transmission fluid and filter will be replaced during this service to keep the fluid clean and effective. In some cases, a full fluid flush may be recommended. That is a more complex and costly procedure than a standard transmission service, though.

3. Power Steering Fluid

Most vehicles have power steering and power steering fluid will be in the system. It will usually be pink, red or sometimes clear in color. You can use the designated dipstick to check. If it is dark in color, you'll want to have it looked at by a professional.

4. Brake Fluid

You want your car to stop effectively, right? Well, the brake fluid is very important to this goal. Leaks or old/burnt fluid can really impact your ability to stop quickly. It is usually yellowish or light brown in color.

5. Radiator Fluid/Coolant/Antifreeze

Whatever you want to call it, the fluid in your radiator is vital to keep your engine from overheating or seizing up when it is cold outside. It keeps the whole system regulated at a proper running temperature. It will usually be bright yellow/green in color and leaks are easy to spot. Radiator leaks should be repaired as soon as possible.

6. Air Conditioning Coolant (Freon)

If your air conditioner doesn't seem to be as cold as normal, it could be low on coolant. It needs to be recharged or refilled periodically, or there could be a leak in the system that you'll want to have fixed. Dealing with A/C coolant is dangerous work, so it is best left to expert automotive technicians.

7. Windshield Washer Fluid

Yes, this is the least important fluid in your car, but it serves a purpose. Keeping your windshield clean is best for driver safety. The washer fluid level is easy to check and refill yourself as needed. You'll usually see a semi-clear reservoir in your engine compartment with the blue liquid inside.

Maintaining your car's fluids is important to the overall health and performance of the vehicle. Your safety could also be on the line. For all your fluid inspection, replacement and maintenance needs, count on the team at Schultz Auto and Truck Repair in Hamburg, NY. Call us today at (716) 422-4008 or schedule an appointment online.

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