The 5 Fluids That Keep Your Car Running

Unless you're a mechanic, you might not know the first thing about changing your fluids. However, not realizing when it's time to change the oil, brake fluid and other essentials could not only make your journey uncomfortable, but it could cause it to come to a screeching halt. Don't let this happen to you!

Here are the top five fluids you should keep on your radar.

1. Oil
An oil change depends on the make and model of the car as well as the type of terrain that you typically drive on. In the past, many people believed that every 3,000 miles was the appropriate time for an oil change regardless of the car and driver. Today, however, several auto experts have debunked that myth. Have a quick conversation with your mechanic and consult your driver's manual to come up with a good schedule for oil changes. According to Cars.com, oil is important because it helps the engine run smoothly, draws heat from the combustion chamber and prevents carbon accumulation.

2. Brake fluids
Changing brake fluids is a slippery slope, pointed out Cars.com. That's because vehicles have different requirements. If you want to learn more about your car's brake fluid barometer, check your owner's manual. When you bring your vehicle in for service, ask your mechanic for his or her suggestions. Staying on top of brake fluids is crucial so that the brakes function properly.

3. Transmission fluid
Car Talk summarized that transmission fluid lubricates all of the parts that move in the transmission. This liquid needs to be replaced every 30,000 to 60,000 miles or sooner if the car is used heavily. Neglecting the transmission fluid could ultimately shorten the life of your transmission. A new one can cost you an upward of $8,000. Take note of how often you're changing the transmission fluid. If your service intervals are shorter than the average span of time, it could mean that you have a leak.

4. Coolant
Like the name suggests, coolant helps your car stay cool. Without it, your vehicle might overheat, rendering it unsafe to drive. You'll need a tow and some car maintenance to get back on the road if this happens. Don't let it get to that point by swapping the coolant every 2 to 3 years.

5. Power-steering fluid
Car Talk explained that this fluid gives your steering wheel flexibility. Without power-steering fluid, it can be tough to move the wheel back and forth, making it virtually impossible to get anywhere. Not to mention, neglecting this easy maintenance could affect other parts of the steering system, which can add up to a hefty car repair bill. Typically, knowing when to add power-steering fluid is at the owner's discretion. However, it's a good idea to get a professional's opinion, in case you're not well-versed in car maintenance.

Keep up on your fluids so your car functions optimally. If you plan accordingly, you can take care of all of these services in one maintenance visit.

"The 5 Fluids That Keep Your Car Running" (2015, June) Precision Tune Auto Care. Retrieved from http://www.precisiontune.com/the-5-fluids-that-keep-your-car-running

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