Keeping your car running smoothly doesn’t have to be rocket science, and when done correctly, can increase the life of your vehicle. While most drivers know the critical importance of regular oil checks and changes, there are several other fluids that should be checked at regular intervals to keep your car cruising for years to come. Here are 4 important fluids critical to car maintenance.
Obviously. Oil lubricates the gears and parts that keep your car moving. Oil also carries heat away from the engine. Without it, the engine can overheat causing engine components to warp and wear out. Eventually, an engine without the lubrication of oil will die and need to be replaced. As oil moves throughout the engine, it picks up engine debris and dirt. This is one reason oil must be changed regularly—dirty oil is ineffective. New engines are costly, but oil changes are relatively inexpensive.
Transmission fluid also acts as a lubricant, keeping your transmission parts from overheating and warping. Many automatic transmission cars simply will not run without transmission fluid. The hydraulics won’t function, meaning the car will be stuck in neutral or park. A standard or manual transmission vehicle may function without transmission fluid, but not for long. The transmission will overheat, cough up some smoke and acrid smells before killing the car.
Brake fluid is pressurized, hydraulic fluid. It absorbs liquid. So ensuring water doesn’t come in contact with your brake fluid is important. Brake fluid also absorbs moisture from the air. Over time, it can become saturated, causing brake function to degrade. So it’s important to periodically have brake lines flushed and replaced. Most experts recommend flushing brake lines and replacing brake fluid every two years, or every 30,000 miles. If you suspect your car is leaking brake fluid, it’s time for a visit to an auto mechanic shop. It is unsafe to drive a car without brake fluid in it because the fluid is critical in helping your car come to a stop.
Radiator fluid prevents your car from overheating. Essentially, it’s the liquid standing between you being in a moving vehicle and you stranded on the side of a Sandy Springs road. Typically, radiator fluid is a mix of antifreeze and water. It’s also sometimes called coolant, and its primary role is keeping your vehicle at an appropriate temperature. It keeps things cool most of the time, but in the winter, it also helps heat the oil. The radiator’s shot of heat keeps the oil thin and runny, preventing it from becoming a thick sludge due to freezing temperatures outside.
If you aren’t regularly maintaining the critical fluids in your car, you risk finding yourself stranded. An auto mechanic can help you set up a preventative maintenance plan that includes a regular fluid check to keep your car running in top condition for years to come.