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Topping up fluids on a Toyota here on Long Island, NY.

Which Fluids Should I Be Checking Regularly in My Car?

Posted at Fri, Oct 15, 2021 6:00 PM

The privilege of owning a car comes with its own set of duties in order to keep it running in good shape, and a part of those duties is making sure to check the vehicle’s fluids regularly. Failure to do so can lead to some issues that range in severity, including decreased gas mileage, issues with power, and damage to crucial parts. Checking the fluids is not tough to do and is something every car owner should be familiar with. There are several types of fluids that need to be checked on a monthly basis and to help you out, our Westbury Toyota experts have written up a quick checklist explaining all of them.

Coolant

Coolant is vital not only in the summer for its cooling properties, but is also essential in the colder months as it prevents freezing. In addition to this, coolant also works by preventing harmful deposits from forming, and also staves off corrosion and foam. Unfortunately, antifreeze will not last forever as it deteriorates over time, which means that it should be checked at regular intervals to ensure it is still working as it should be. In newer cars, it is recommended it be tested after 50,000 miles. A test will check to see how well the antifreeze holds up for prevention of boiling and freezing, and will also check acidity and for any indication of leaks or rusting. Of all the fluids in your car, coolant is one of the most important and should be checked at least once a month.

Engine Oil

Oil is crucial in maintaining smooth engine function and like coolant, is one of the fluids most vital to the continued operation of your car. Driving with low oil (or none at all), can cripple your car by causing significant damage to the engine. It is recommended that you get an oil change every 3,000 miles when using regular oil and every 5,000 miles if using synthetic. The oil level is also something you should check on a regular basis to make sure you are not running low. A low oil level could indicate a problem such as a leak, and if it is low you should top it up as soon as possible.

Brake Fluid

Another crucial fluid, brake fluid, is essential in allowing your brakes to function with normal, safe parameters. As normal wear and tear accumulates on your brake pads, the brake fluid will typically drop as well. Allowing this fluid to remain low can compromise your braking efficiency and also lead to unnecessary damage, so be sure to check the brake fluid every now and then to ensure it is at the recommended level.

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is necessary for the lubrication and cooling of the valves, clutches, and gears inside the transmission. Low transmission fluid can adversely affect the process of shifting and can also lead to a surging sensation when changing gears. Transmission fluid tends to last longer than most other vehicle fluids, but will still need to be checked from time to time and will also need to be replaced. With newer cars, transmission fluid replacement is suggested for around 100,000 miles.

Washer Fluid

Most everyone is familiar with checking washer fluid due to how much it is used. Washer fluid is an imperative part of being able to drive safely, but even so, it often goes untended until it runs dry. It goes without saying that if you use it often you should absolutely be checking it often to avoid running out on a day when you really need it. A good rule of thumb is to check it every time you stop to fuel up so that if you need it, you can easily purchase it from the gas station.

Make Fluid Checking a Part of Your Driving Habits

Accumulating good habits when it comes to driving and vehicle maintenance is something every driver should try to do, and checking your vehicle’s fluids regularly is one you should add to the regimen. By keeping an eye on the fluids, you are keeping an eye on how your car or truck is functioning as a whole, and by topping up the fluids when needed you are taking preventative measures against damage and wear.

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