How to Check Your Vehicle’s Fluids

checking your vehicles fluids

Your vehicles fluids should be checked at regular intervals depending on how often you drive your car. Your owner’s manual will give you specifications as well as where to locate the places to check the fluids. It is a good idea to check them more often than recommended.

Checking the motor oil:

  • Wait for about an hour for the engine to cool down and the oil to settle into the drain pan from the engine.
  • Locate the dipstick ring and pull it out and wipe it off with a rag or towel.
  • Return the dipstick all the way and pull it out again. The oil should fall between two marks on the stick showing the proper level. If it is lower than the last mark, it could be a sign of problems and should be checked out by a mechanic.
  • Take note of the color and consistency of the oil. Very dark: It’s time for an oil change. Foamy oil: A sign of contamination and it should be checked out.

Checking the transmission fluid:

  • This is also checked with a dipstick. The engine should be running and warm when it is checked.
  • This fluid should never be low. If it is, it could be a sign of a problem and should be checked as soon as possible.
  • Another warning sign is if the fluid has a burnt smell or is brown instead of red in color.

Checking the coolant level:

  • The car engine should be cool before checking.
  • Checking is as simple as finding the plastic coolant reservoir and observing the level markings.
  • Replenish low levels with the proper coolant/antifreeze for the car.

Checking the power steering level:

  • Find the plastic reservoir and observe the markings on the outside.
  • If it is low, it is a sign of problems and should be checked out.

Checking the brake fluid:

  • This is also located in a plastic reservoir and if it is low, it is a sign of a leak and should be checked out.

The washer fluid should also be checked regularly by locating the reservoir and filled when necessary.

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