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Checking Your Vehicles Fluids

Not everyone is a mechanic, or even knows what goes on under the hood. But that doesn’t mean you have to rely on your local Utah auto repair shop for even simple fluid checks. That is something that you can definitely do for yourself, with a little boost in the right direction.

Starting with your owner’s manual, look for a diagram of where each of the fluids are located, under the hood of your car. If you can’t find the manual, you may ask a friend who knows cars well enough to point out where all the fluids are in your engine.

Engine oil often needs checking, in between oil changes, especially in older cars. Pull out the dipstick, being careful not to drip oil on your clothes, and wipe it clean with a rag. Then, re-dip it into the oil until it touches bottom. There is an indicator on the stick itself that will show you if the oil level is too low, or even too high.

Brake fluid is obviously one of the more important liquids to be maintained in your car. Newer cars have a translucent plastic container. So, you can just peer closely at the level indicator molded on the side and see if the level is right. Older cars will require you to open it up and look. But, once again, don’t spill this one, especially if you like the paint on your car.

Windshield washer fluid is also very important. Imagine if your windshield got dirty, and you had no way to clean it off while you drove. Hopefully, you have a see-through plastic container for this one as well. But if not, don’t sweat it. If it isn’t full, you can just fill it up.

Transmission fluid is imperative to the functioning of your engine. If you have a manual car, don’t even mess with this one. Take it to the Utah auto repair shop you prefer and let them climb under the car to check it. If, on the other hand, you have an automatic transmission, you will find it under the hood. Most operating manuals will tell you to take the car for a short drive to warm the transmission up. You may even have to keep the engine running while you check it. Then pull the dipstick, wipe clean, and re-dip, like the engine oil, to check it.

As far as the engine coolant goes, you will DEFINITELY need to make sure the engine is cool to take off the radiator cap.  Otherwise, you may be making a trip to the burn unit afterwords. However, if your car has an overflow bottle, which most do, you can probably just glance at the markings to make sure the coolant level is between minimum and maximum levels.

Power steering fluid helps make it possible for you to turn the steering wheel easily and have the car follow your lead. Without it, driving is like a long-term arm wrestle. There is probably a small dipstick attached to the cap, on this one. Just make sure, like with the transmission fluid, that the engine has been warmed up first. Checking your fluids every two weeks, in-between oil changes, should be enough. If you find you have to refill fluids often, you may want to ask your mechanic to check for a leak.

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26 Apr, 2011

Preventative Maintenance

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