While we may sound like a broken record, we cannot stress the importance of regular and efficient car maintenance enough. Whether that is your scheduled check-up with the mechanic or completing DIY tasks, proper vehicle maintenance is guaranteed to save you a lot of headaches, money, and time in the long run.
Your safety on the roads is the most important, and proper car maintenance can guarantee this. While routine mechanic checkups typically take care of any maintenance requirements, there are a few extra DIY tasks you should be practising between visits to a professional. This includes washing your vehicle, checking the air pressure of your tyres, and most importantly, checking your vehicle’s essential fluids.
Your vehicle has many different fluids that all serve extremely important purposes and understandably need to be checked and maintained regularly. You certainly don’t have to be a car expert to take proper care of your vehicle; instead, following a few simple steps can provide your car with the care it deserves. Whether you drive your vehicle once a month or every day, knowing how to check and maintain your fluid levels is crucial to keep everything running smoothly.
Not being able to find time to have a vehicle maintained is the top reason that consumers delay essential routine maintenance. So, we have created a list of the six fluids you can maintain yourself by adding them into your already existing car care routine.
1. Engine Oil
Our car engines are made up of many different moving parts that constantly interact to help keep the vehicle running smoothly. Understandably, if there are any minor faults or issues with even one of these parts, the engine won’t be able to function to its typical high standard.
With this in mind, your engine oil is undeniably the most important fluid to check. Its role within the engine is to lubricate all the moving parts to reduce friction. So, if the fluid levels aren’t adequate, your engine’s parts will create friction, significantly lower their lifespan, and even cause irreparable damage to your vehicle.
While checking the oil is a relatively straightforward process, you should check your vehicle’s manual before you do to ensure you have the correct oil on hand. Then, grab a rag, ensure your car is parked on level ground, and follow these easy steps:
1.Ensure the engine is switched off, the oil has been allowed to cool for a few minutes, and open your car’s bonnet.
2.Locate the dipstick and take it out, removing any oil with a dry wipe or rag.
3.Insert the dipstick back into the oil, wait for a second, and take it out again.
4.Check the markers on the dipstick to determine the oil level.
5.If the oil level is adequate, insert the dipstick back in and close the bonnet of your car. If the oil is below the minimum marker on the dipstick, use the correct oil to top it up.
6.Also, take note of the oil quality. Just because you have enough oil doesn’t mean it serves your vehicle well. If there are bubbles on the stick and the oil is thick, it is likely contaminated and will need to be replaced.
2. Brake Fluid
Our vehicle’s brake pedals often fly under the radar for being out of sight yet ever so reliable. However, there is a lot more going on to keep them functioning smoothly than meets the eye.
Specifically, brake fluid helps transfer the movement and force created when you press down on the brake pedal, aiming to prevent brake failure. Simply put, if the fluid levels run too low, your brakes won’t work.
While topping up your brake fluids is not required as regularly, it is just as important and simple to do. If you notice a sudden drop in the brake fluid level, it could indicate a more significantissue with your brake system. So regularly checking the dipstick to ensure the fluid levels aren’t dropping will prevent any unwelcome surprises.
If you are required to top off your brake fluids, ensure you aren’t getting any grease or oil mixed in with it. Also, ensure you handle the fluid with care, as it is one of the more toxic ones within your vehicle.
3. Transmission Fluid
While it seems that all car fluids are the most important, the transmission fluid is particularly critical as it performs a role similar to the engine oil.
It makes sure everything is lubricated, cool, and able to operate without difficulties. As a result, it must be checked regularly. Fortunately, it requires a similar procedure to checking your engine’s oil and can be easily added to your maintenance routine.
While the steps are relatively straightforward, you should still check your user manual to confirm whether your particular vehicle is required to be turned off or on during the process. The fluids won’t typically need to be changed often. However, they must be checked to ensure there are no major issues that you aren’t aware of.
A mixture of water and special cooling fluid, an engine’s coolant is a substance used to regulate the temperature of your car. While this is particularly important during the warmer summer months to prevent your vehicle from overheating, it also helps to prevent freezing during the cooler periods of the year.
As with most of these fluid maintenance procedures, checking your coolant level is extremely easy to do. The coolant tank is typically translucent under the bonnet, making it easy to find. And, it has the minimum and maximum markers clearly visible on its sides, making it extremely easy for you to identify if the fluid is running low.
It is important to note that you should only ever check the coolant when the engine is cool, as the temperature of the water can be unpredictable and burn you if you’re not careful.
5. Power Steering Fluid
The same way the engine requires lubrication to keep things running smoothly, the power steering system requires similar assistance to function efficiently.
The steering mechanics are out of sight and mind and can often be neglected like your brakes. However, checking its fluids is important to preserving your vehicle’s life. It can be done easily by locating the reservoir and confirming the fluid levels are above the indicator lines.
Power steering fluid aims to reduce the effort required to turn the wheels. So while this should be checked regularly, if you notice problems with turning the wheel in the meantime, it could indicate these fluids may need topping up.
6. Windscreen Wiper Fluid
While maintaining your windshield fluid is not as crucial to your car’s overall health as other fluids, we consider it an arguably vital step in your DIY car maintenance process.
If you do run out of windshield fluid, it won’t have any consequential effects on other elements of your vehicle, but it can have adverse effects on your windscreen. Maintaining a windscreen without cracks, debris, or chips will save you money and time in the long run, as no one wants a dodgy windscreen.
Using dry wipers on a dirty windscreen can create micro-scratches that can gradually get worse over time, affect your vision, and cause the need for pricey windscreen repairs or even replacements.
Ultimately, checking all these fluids within your vehicle, among the many other maintenance requirements owning a car demands, can seem overwhelming. However, knowing what to do is simple. All you need to do is find time within your current maintenance routine.
This is a guaranteed way to identify major issues before they arise, improve the lifespan of your vehicle, and keep everything running smoothly, so you don’t get caught out while on the roads.
For more information on efficiently maintaining your vehicle, contact Novus Autoglass today. While our speciality is all things windscreen related, everything is interconnected, and we strive to provide you with the best advice to keep you safe on the roads.