5 Car Fluids That Must Be Checked

Staying up to date on vehicle maintenance requires a lot of effort, particularly in the winter. Although some drivers may think that their regular appointments cover everything they need to worry about, there's a few seasonal issues that need to be addressed as well. For instance, there are many different fluids within a car, and each of these requires a specific type of care that occasionally goes beyond average maintenance.

"Every vehicle has a unique maintenance schedule, but many automakers are extending service intervals for vehicle fluids," said John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering and repair. "Less maintenance improves the cost of vehicle ownership, but fewer visits to the repair facility means the technician will have fewer opportunities to check your vehicle for signs of wear. It's important for motorists to conduct monthly safety inspections to identify issues before they escalate."

Here are some of the oils and fluids that you need to check in your car. While there are a few more that shouldn't be ignored, these four are among the most important.

Motor oil
Getting an auto oil change is one of the most important things you can do as a car owner. While you should be sticking to a schedule for this task, as prescribed by your owner's manual, it doesn't hurt to check in throughout the year. Some models may benefit from making a switch to winter oil, which has a different viscosity that is better suited to colder weather. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer, but make a special effort to check oil levels at least once a month.

Brake fluid
Your brakes are among the most important parts of your vehicle. In addition to getting brake service as needed, you should be examining the fluid present. This liquid is used to activate your brakes, so it's essential to have it flushed out and replaced every few years. Completing this process every two years is the norm, but certain vehicles may have different timelines that need to be followed. Instead of leaving anything to chance, check your owner's manual for a schedule and then let an auto repair professional examine the system to determine if it needs care.

Washer fluid
You may think that melting snow is sufficient to clean off your windshield, but you'd be doing your car a disservice. Washer fluid is necessary at all times of the year - especially in the winter, when you may have to wipe away excess debris, road salt and other substances. Esurance suggested looking for nontoxic options if you're concerned about your impact on the environment, as many popular brands are expanding their offerings to include more eco-friendly compounds. Of course, these liquids still have the power to break down materials that build up on your windshield, allowing you to see clearly no matter what the weather conditions.

Engine coolant
With temperatures falling, you may think there's no risk of your car overheating. However, your vehicle can run too hot at any time of year, which is why engine coolant is so important. What many drivers may not know is that antifreeze is used as coolant, as the liquid lowers the freezing point while also raising the boiling point. That means your engine is in less danger of extreme temperatures, but you have to make sure your car has an acceptable level. The experts at an auto repair franchise will be able to check this if you're unsure of what to do.

"5 Car Fluids That Must Be Checked" (2014, December) Precision Tune Auto Care. Retrieved from: http://www.precisiontune.com/5-car-fluids-that-must-be-checked

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