Fluids are key to car care. Use this guide to check them yourself.
Never underestimate how important it is to take care of your car’s fluids. They are responsible for keeping your engine lubricated, keeping the temperatures in the safe zones, and making sure your brakes are in working order, among other things.
Here is a step by step guide to help you better take care of the fluids in your car and know your car’s needs.
- Look at your owner’s manual for recommended times to check or replace fluids.
- Make sure your car is parked on a flat level surface.
- Pop the hood.
- First, check your oil by using the dipstick. Let your car cool down for an hour or so. This will allow the oil to settle so you can get an accurate reading. Look not only for the level of oil, but also the color, consistency, and any particles that shouldn’t be there.
- Now, check the transmission fluid. You usually want the engine running and warmed up in neutral or park. It will be the second dipstick (oil is the first). It is a reddish color and doesn’t need to be changed as much as the oil does, but it does need to be changed, maybe every 100,000 miles.
- Check the brake fluid. Look at your manual to find where it is. The brake fluid should never go down. Low brake fluid might indicate a leak in the brake line. Look into this immediately.
- Check the power steering fluid. Some cars are now equipped with electronic power steering and will not have a reservoir.
- Check the coolant. Make sure the engine has cooled down first!
- Check the windshield washer fluid.
- While, you’re at it, check the tire pressure.