Keeping your vehicle’s fluids topped off is the simplest yet most effective bit of car maintenance one can perform on their own. This easy bit of work requires little technical know-how and few supplies, yet it will greatly extend the life of your engine by minimizing the chance of breakdowns. While vehicles can vary in many respects, the application of this kind of maintenance is relatively universal. Below are some pointers on what to do, when to do it, and why it is so important.
The importance of coolant, or antifreeze, is apparent in its name: it keeps your engine from overheating. You should use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water to keep your coolant filled to the maximum line indicator. It is not recommended, however not necessarily dangerous, to mix different antifreezes in your vehicle, as this can minimize their corrosion protecting abilities. It is recommended that coolant be replaced every 2 to 3 years.
One of your vehicle’s most important fluids of all, motor oil is vital for your engine’s lubrication, cooling, cleaning, and protection. You should be checking that your engine has enough oil regularly – at least once a month. If it is low, add more of the type of oil recommended in your car’s manual, being careful not to overfill. It was once recommended to completely change your oil every six months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. While this schedule is still acceptable, you should check your vehicle’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommendations. When changing out your oil, your oil filter should be replaced as well.
Being able to stop your vehicle is rather important. When you change your oil, you check your brake fluid as well. Brake fluid is part of a closed system, so it should never run low. Instead, you should check its color. If it is any darker than gold, is should be replaced. Also, if the reservoir does seem low, you should call in a professional to see what the problem is.
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