Every vehicle, whether car or truck, requires seven automotive fluids in order to increase lifespan and maintain optimal and safe driving conditions. These fluids can be purchased at any store that has an automotive department, or at a local auto parts store, at prices between 4 and 15 dollars depending on the brand and retailer. Since these fluids are readily-available and inexpensive to buy, there is no reason why you shouldn’t stay on top of them. Learn your vehicle’s factory maintenance schedule so you can know exactly when each fluid needs checked or replaced. Keep in mind that some fluids are best changed out by a licensed automotive technician, so be sure to find an auto shop you can trust for quality work and fair prices. Continue reading to learn the seven essential automotive fluids every vehicle needs to drive safely and stay in good condition for years to come.
Engine oil is of course one of the most well-known and significant fluids for cars and trucks. It lubricates all the inner workings and moving parts of a car engine’s crank case to reduce heat-causing friction. Without proper lubrication at all times, parts like pistons, valves, and more, are subject to damage. This renders a motor useless.
Depending on the make and model of your particular vehicle, the schedule for oil changes will vary slightly. Check your owners’ manual or consult a trusted local mechanic for information about your vehicle’s factory scheduled maintenance. Generally, motor oil should be changed every 5,000 or 6 months, whichever comes first.
Transmission fluid is red in color and very similar to motor oil in terms of its function. This is because it cools and lubricates the inner workings of a vehicle’s transmission. This keeps the vehicle’s gears in good condition, allowing for easy gear changes and functionality. Generally, this fluid should be changed one time per year. Again, check your owner’ manual, or download one online, for specific maintenance schedule information.
Your vehicle’s coolant is a must, since without it, your car is sure to overheat. Radiator fluid, also called coolant, is a 50/50 combination of solution and water, and can come in a variety of colors depending on the brand and type you buy. It keeps the engine from overheating by circulating through the engine and collecting heat, returning it to the radiator, and then dispersing this heat outside. This should be changed as needed, depending on how often you drive and your driving habits. Generally, coolant should be changed every 3 to 5 months, or 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
In terms of passenger safety, you might say brake fluid is the most important for a vehicle. Brake fluid allows for proper hydraulic functioning of the car brakes. When you push down on the brake pedal, the brake fluid compresses, sending hydraulic force to the brake pads and shoes, which provides the friction needed to stop a vehicle. Generally, brake fluid should be replaced every 2 years, or 30,000 miles. Check your owners’ manual for details.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid is pressurized by a small hydraulic pump that is powered by the vehicle’s engine. It allows the vehicle to turn easier. This fluids enhances the steering mechanism of a car or truck. Without it, it would feel as if the steering wheel weighs 100 pounds. This fluids needs replaced generally every 4 years or 60,000 miles.
If your vehicle has a “maintenance-free” battery, then you will not be required to check its fluid levels. But for older model cars and trucks, batteries have individual cells that need to be refilled with battery fluid. This fluid, of course, maintains the car battery’s power, allowing for turning the ignition and starting the engine. Battery fluid should be changed generally every 6 to 8 months or 7,500 miles.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Most often forgotten or overlooked, windshield wiper fluid is an essential part of driver and passenger safety. This is a fluid anyone can re-fill themselves, as needed. Simply by this well-known blue solution at a gas station or auto parts store. Refill as needed.