Your vehicle isn’t just a bunch of moving metal parts that thud away without support, this heart needs fluids to keep it running smoothly and as we head into winter perhaps now is the time to check the levels. Everyone knows about the importance of engine oils but there are other fluids that are needed and just as important and collectively work together to keep the engine running and you motoring.
Coolant or Antifreeze
Works to keep the engine cool, it absorbs the heat and dissipates it through the radiator. Manufacturer guidelines suggest checking the coolant level every 50,000 miles but as a vehicle ages it starts to lose a little or may even spring a leak. It can easily get to a point where you no longer have enough coolant to keep things cool and the engine will start to overheat, it is easy to check and usually included in a vehicle service.
Perform a similar role as the engine oil, except it is looking after the component in your transmission, this specialised oil ensures your gears and clutch remains cool and running smoothly. Many transmissions come with “lifetime” fluid and shouldn’t need replacing. However if you are experiencing rough shifting, strange noises or uncontrolled surging you might ned to look to get his checked. If the check shows a dark, cloudy and/or gritty fluid it will need to be replaced.
Power Steering Fluid
This is the stuff that makes steering super easy nowadays, but it relies on a hydraulic system where there is pressurised fluid that enables an effortless driving experience (this is changing and there is a move to electric steering). Maintaining the correct level is important and regular checks will identify if there is a leak.
No need to explain why this is important, you won’t stop without brakes and they rely on a hydraulic system, if you are running low on brake fluid there will not be enough fluid to pressurise the lines that connect the pedal to the brake pads that stop the vehicle. But this constant compression can degrade the oil, or it can become contaminated by water, which will cause the brake lines to rust and leak. You’ll feel this happening; the brake will become spongy or you could experience irregular brake performance. It is important to check the brake reservoir for level and colour, it will highlight a leak or degradation of the oil, this also forms part of a service due to the implications should there be something wrong.
Windshield washer fluid
Is an obvious one to top up, it might not affect the performance of the vehicle, but it is vital the safe driving. Making sure this is toped up regularly so that you have a clean screen to see through is simple and easy to do, it is one that can be checked easily and refilled even at a petrol station.