We’ve all seen the ‘check engine oil’ light come on in our dashboard, and oil changes are pretty familiar to anyone who’s owned a vehicle. But there are other fluids in your car that are equally important to check and change that many people are unaware of.
If any of these fluids run out or degrade in quality, you could have serious damage to your car and make it unsafe to drive:
- Engine oil
- Transmission fluid
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
What is engine oil and how often does it need to be changed?
Engine oil serves as a lubricant for engine parts, and keeps it clean, cool, and prevents wear. Depending on your vehicle, you should have your engine oil changed every 3 months or 5,000 km, whichever comes first! It’s important to change oil regularly, rather than just adding more because over time the quality of oil degrades as it builds up contaminants. An oil change is a relatively quick, inexpensive procedure that can be done while you wait in your car.
What is transmission fluid, and how often should it get checked or changed?
Your car’s transmission is what allows you to shift gears smoothly. It’s one of the most expensive parts of your car to replace. Transmission fluid keeps your transmission running smoothly. Transmission fluid used to need to be changed every 2 years or 40,000km or so. But today’s vehicles often say the transmission fluid is good for 3 years. Many of today’s vehicles as ‘sealed’ as well – meaning there is no dipstick or easy way for the owner to check or replace the transmission fluid. This doesn’t mean that transmission maintenance isn’t still important, just that it’s likely something to have your local mechanic at Advance Auto Service handle.
What is coolant and when should I have it checked?
Engine coolant is a liquid mixture of water and antifreeze (often 50/50) located in the radiator that keeps your engine in a safe operating temperature range. In hot weather it cools, and in cold weather it prevents it from freezing up. Recommended coolant change times vary widely by manufacturer and vehicle model. Some recommend coolant changes every 3 years or 80,000 km. The reality is that coolant quality degrades over time. Schedule an appointment and we can tell you what’s needed.
What does brake fluid do and how often should it be checked or changed?
Brake fluid is a liquid solution designed to magnify the force of your foot on the brake petal. Without it, you’d find it much harder to stop your car. Brake fluid takes the force of your foot on the pedal and multiplies it into pressure on the car brakes. As with the other fluids in this article, brake fluid breaks down over time. The recommended miles between changes varies pretty wildly by manufacturer, so it’s best to check your owner’s manual and chat with the pros at Advance Auto Service.
What is power steering fluid and how often should it be changed?
Power steering fluid is what makes turning the steering wheel easy. It amplifies the force you apply to the steering wheel into enough force to turn your actual vehicle wheels. Power steering fluid is the only fluid in this article that usually doesn’t need replacement, but it is important to have it checked during a routine car maintenance checkup.
Book Your Regular Maintenance Checkup Today
All of your car’s fluids can be checked during regular vehicle service. Don’t wait until damage is done and your faced with an expensive repair! Bring your car in to Advance Auto Service for a routine check and we’ll make sure everything is working as it should be. Call for an appointment!
From the team at Advance Auto Service in Kamloops