Fluids 101: Understanding the Role of Engine Oil, Coolant, and Other Vital Fluids

Fluids 101: Understanding the Role of Engine Oil, Coolant, and Other Vital Fluids

Own a car?

Then your car has tons of moving parts- and each one needs the right level of fluids (a variety of them) to keep it running. Regardless of your car brand, expert vehicle enthusiasts and drivers recommend checking the fluid levels every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or after 2 to 3 months.

Surprising right?

So, if you want to keep your car’s engine happy, taking care of its fluids is one of the essential maintenance strategies. Don’t worry if you have no idea about the vital fluids your car needs to boost its horsepower. We have listed fluids critical to help your vehicle maintain traction before it hits the road. Remember that taking care of these things will help your ride stay in top shape so it keeps running smoothly and holds its value.

Topping off Fluids- What Does It Mean

All right, let’s break this down in simple language.

When we talk about ‘topping off’ fluids, we mean filling them up to the recommended level set by the folks who made your ride. Usually, the service center has a handy gauge to tell you when you’re right on the money.

Here’s where things can get a bit tricky. Take engine oil, for example. You can’t just add more oil to it. Nope, you have to flush out the old stuff first. Think of it like changing the oil’s outfit, not just accessorizing it.

But you can pour in more when needed when it comes to other fluids like coolant or windshield washer fluid. Easy peasy, right?

Well, not always. Sometimes, even those need a fresh start if they’ve been hanging around your vehicle for too long, collecting dust and junk along the way. It’s like giving your car a clean slate.

Getting your fluids in order is also a safety precaution, as the car accident attorneys in Virginia Beach note that countless vehicle collisions a year are the result of maintenance/vehicle performance issues.

Role of Engine Oil, Coolant, and Other Fluids

Engine oil

If you have heard someone saying your engine oil is like the life support for your wheeler, it isn’t entirely wrong. Of course, it is the engine; without it, your ride will throw in the towel. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the engine oil is a “superhero” that relentlessly fights off friction between most of the moving parts in your car’s engine. In fact, keeping the engine oil supply sufficient means your car will run like a dream.

But here’s the twist – how often you need an oil change isn’t set in stone anymore. Best bet? Speak with a car mechanic or check that trusty owner’s manual to see what your baby prefers.


Let’s talk about something cool – coolant!

Did you know your engine’s like a little heat factory, and all that energy it’s cranking out turns into some serious heat?

Now, if you don’t have coolant on the job, things can get hot and heavy, and not in a good way. And here we mean dangerous temperatures and major engine trouble that you can easily avoid just by keeping the level of coolant right in your car.

But here’s the scoop: In today’s car world, you don’t have to worry about changing the coolant as often as you might think. Newer cars are all about that long-lasting coolant magic, so you can wait and chill for about five years before even thinking about a coolant refresh. Your ride’s staying cool and happy!

Brake fluid

Brake fluid works as the secret sauce for your brakes- just as important as engine oil for your car’s engine. It’s an important role to play when it comes to applying pressure on your brake pads to slow down your ride.

So, here’s the deal – as mentioned earlier, you don’t have to sweat it too often. You can top off your brake fluid about every two years or so unless it’s gotten all gunky and gross. In that case, it’s best to give it a fresh start. Keep those brakes happy and your car stopping smoothly.

Power Steering Fluid

Have you driven a car with a rigid and stiff steering wheel, making it tough to move quickly?

Low power steering fluid’s got that covered!

Now, one thing that you need to keep in mind is that power steering fluid does some heavy lifting. It’s the magic behind your smooth and balanced steering wheel, giving your steering extra oomph. This is why you should swap out that power steering fluid every couple of years or when cruising around 80,000 clicks on the odometer.

Keeping it fresh is one way to keep that steering game strong!

Transmission Oil

Transmission oil, also known as gear oil, is no less than a smooth operator behind the scenes in your car’s gearbox. To put it simply, transmission oil makes sure that all the gear-shifting acrobatics happen without a hitch. If you neglect topping your car with transmission oil adequately, the gears may get rough and cranky. That may mean your vehicle will likely experience high temps, too much friction, and even a touch of corrosion.

Most trusty service gurus recommend giving your transmission oil a makeover every 40,000 to 60,000 clicks on the odometer if you want to keep the gear dance smooth -and your ride will thank you!

Those five fluids mentioned above are like the lifeblood of your car. But there are a couple of other players on the team, too, like the air conditioning coolant and washer fluid. They deserve some attention, too.

You can roll up your sleeves and handle these tasks yourself, but if you’re feeling unsure or it’s all new territory for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a pro. Sometimes, it’s just better to let the experts do their thing to keep your car all hearty and healthy.

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