Car Repair: Know Your Fluids

Car repairs are important to the upkeep of your vehicle. There are about six different vehicle components that use some type of fluid, and each of these fluids should be checked periodically. Sometimes there may be a slow leak, which can cause problems further along if anything has leaked out of the system.Oil is used as a lubricant for the inside of the engine. It is essential because it keeps the metal parts of the engine lubricated and clean, so it is important to keep the oil fresh and replenished. On most cars, oil changes should be scheduled every 5,000 miles, however, the vehicle owner can check the oil level, and its color by simply taking a look at the dipstick at any time.

The oil dipstick is a direct line to the oil reservoir, it is marked with the appropriate level, and the oil should fall within those areas; the lubricant may need to be replenished if it falls below the indicator marks. It is best to check the oil levels while the car is cool to avoid a false reading. While the engine is cool, it is also good to check the antifreeze; antifreeze circulates through the cooling system and keeps the engine from freezing or overheating. Checking the antifreeze is as simple as looking at the reservoir, which sits next to the radiator.

The hydraulic fluids for the brakes and steering wheel also come in a reservoir underneath the hood, however, they can be checked while the engine is hot or cold. Brake fluid levels should never change, it is simply used as a hydraulic to transfer energy to the brakes; have an auto technician check for leaks if the reservoir is low. Power steering fluid transfers power through the steering lines, and should be refilled if the steering wheel becomes difficult to turn; a low reservoir will eventually do major damage to the steering. The reservoir is also located under the hood, and is clearly marked with the appropriate levels for a hot or cold engine. The transmission fluid should only be checked if the engine is running. Similar to oil, a dipstick goes directly to the transmission reservoir; it is also marked for the appropriate fluid levels.

Maintaining proper fluid levels is a simple task that can prevent major car repairs. Checking a vehicle’s fluids often can help keep its systems in top working order, and if these fluids need frequent refills, check with a mechanic to be sure there are no leaks. Leaky hoses can cause major damage and car repairs.

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