Checking your car’s essential fluid levels on a regular basis is a quick and easy way to keep your car in top condition.
Here are the essential fluids your car needs to remain fit and healthy…
1. Engine Oil
Engine oil plays an essential role in keeping your car running smoothly, and you should check your engine oil levels at least once a month.
In the majority of cars, this will involve popping the bonnet up, finding the oil dipstick, pulling it out, and wiping it down. Then simply re-insert the dipstick, remove it again, and check the oil level on the stick’s indicator.
If your oil is at a safe level, you don’t need to take any further action and can continue on your journey. If it’s not at a safe level, you’ll need to add more oil. How regularly you’ll need to top up your engine oil will depend on the age of the car, but if you’re finding yourself topping it up regularly, you should probably get your car checked by a mechanic.
Your engine oil will also need to be totally replaced from time to time – check your owner’s manual to find out how regularly the manufacturer recommends you should do this.
2. Brake Fluid
Brake fluid ensures your brakes work properly, so it’s fair to say it’s essential!
If you find your brakes don’t quite feel themselves, checking your brake fluid is usually a pretty good place to start. To make sure everything is in order, you’ll need to check the brake fluid reservoir, located on the driver side of your vehicle.
The brake fluid should be a golden colour – if it’s brown instead, it needs to be replaced.
For best results, check your brake fluid every time you change your engine oil, and replace it every two years.
3. Transmission Fluid
The transmission fluid keeps the gears on your car moving smoothly.
It’s good practice to check your transmission fluid levels on a monthly basis. The process for checking your transmission fluid is pretty straightforward and similar to the process of checking your engine oil, but with the engine running.
This time, however, you need to focus your attention on the quality of the fluid rather than just the quantity – it should be red and shouldn’t smell burned.
Because transmission fluid is part of a closed system, the levels should not fluctuate. If you find that your transmission fluid is low, you’ll need to book yourself in with a mechanic.
Coolant ensures your car’s engine is running at the optimum temperature.
It’s important to check your coolant levels at least twice each year (but the more frequently the better) because, if they start running low, it’s highly likely that your car will overheat.
To check the coolant, you simply need to wait until the car is cool, before removing the radiator cap and checking to see if the fluid comes up to the designated level.
If your coolant levels are low, simply top them up. You should completely replace your coolant every two to three years.
There are many different types of coolant available, however, Prestone coolant/antifreeze is guaranteed to work in any car and can be mixed with any other make of coolant. This is perfect if you’re unsure of the type of coolant currently keeping your engine at temperature.
You can also test your car’s freeze protection using a Prestone coolant tester – if your engine isn’t protected for cold weather you can then top up with Prestone to prevent both freezing and overheating.
5. Power Steering Fluid
As the name would suggest, power steering fluid helps to keep your steering smooth.
We’d recommend checking your power steering fluid once a month to avoid any potential problems. If you start to notice that your steering wheel feels more resistant than usual or that it’s making some unexpected noises, the chances are your power steering fluid is running low.
To check your levels, simply pop the bonnet up and take a look at the reservoir. If it’s running low, you might have a leak so it’s worth investigating further.
Prestone’s high-performance coolant/antifreeze is developed to ensure your engine offers high performance levels in even the most extreme of conditions. For more information, visit the Prestone website.