Your Automotive Fluids...And When to Change Them
Your car’s engine and drivetrain rely on several fluids to keep everything running smoothly…and too often, this crucial bit of preventive maintenance is neglected.
Oil change: You probably already know about oil changes, but it’s easy to forget them anyway. Conventional motor oil should be changed every 5,000 miles, while synthetic oil can go for a 10-12,000 mile interval between oil changes. Remember to check your owner’s manual for manufacturer’s recommendations.
Coolant: Coolant is a 50/50 mix of distilled water and antifreeze; while it contains anti-corrosion agents and other additives, coolant will still degrade over time and lose its effectiveness. It should be flushed yearly to ensure that corrosion and scale don’t accumulate in the radiator, heater core and water pump.
Transmission fluid: Transmission fluid cools and lubricates an automatic transmission’s internal assemblies, as well as helping to transmit torque through the unit. Transmission fluid will become contaminated over time with metal shavings and shellac-like deposits and should be changed at 50-70,000 mile intervals (according to manufacturer’s recommendations). ATF should be changed more often if the vehicle is used for towing or hauling heavy loads.
Brake fluid: This one’s often neglected…but brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning that it attracts water. Droplets of water in your brake fluid can boil off during hard braking, causing bubbles in the brake lines and hurting braking performance. Brake fluid should be flushed and refilled every two years or so.
Power steering fluid: Another one that’s often forgotten, power steering fluid should be changed at least a couple of times in the life cycle of the vehicle. Check owner’s manual (remember, though, that some newer vehicles now use electric power steering).
Remember these service intervals for fluid changes, and it’ll pay off with a vehicle that will run reliably for many, many years to come. We call it a choice between “pay a little money now, or pay a whole lot of money later!”
When’s your next fluid change coming up? Make an appointment with us at Master Auto Repair and let us help make sure your vehicle’s in good shape!
|Your Automotive Fluids...And When to Change Them was written by Mike Najjar of Master Auto and Tire|