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Car Fluid Maintenance

Your vehicle has a lot of different fluids running through it to keep it working. Many car fluids need to be replaced regularly, but at different degrees (and to avoid different consequences). Here, we give a brief overview of many different car fluids.

Automatic Transmission Fluid
Also known as ATF, this car fluid keeps the automatic transmission in your car working properly by lubricating and cooling it. Many people don’t realize it, but remembering to replace this fluid as needed can help you avoid costly transmission problems down the road. Transmission fluid is usually red or green. However, darkened or black transmission fluid indicates it should be replaced. Similar in the way dirty oil can ruin your engine, dirty transmission fluid can ruin your transmission. The Tire Choice offers a transmission flush as one of our many engine and transmission services.

Brake Fluid
Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that gives your brakes the pressure and power they need to stop your vehicle. As such, it’s a very important car fluid. As brake fluid ages, it collects moisture and needs to be replaced when its moisture content gets too high. However, this happens very slowly, so brake fluid only needs to be replaced about once every one or two years. If brake fluid ever gets low, this almost always indicates a problem with the vehicle. If you bring your vehicle to the Brake Service Center at The Tire Choice, we can diagnose and fix the problem to get your brakes working again.

Coolant
The parts under the hood of your vehicle can get extremely hot – well over 300 degrees in some cases. If the heat isn’t controlled, it can cause serious damage. That’s where this car fluid comes in. Although auto engines are considered “water-cooled” engines, plain water is insufficient and can damage a vehicle over time. Automotive coolant is water with several additives to keep it from harming the vehicle. For example, unlike plain water, coolant uses additives to have a very low freezing point and very high boiling point, which keeps ice and steam from damaging the system. Coolant also has corrosion inhibitors and lubricant for the coolant pump added in as well.

Motor Oil
This is the car fluid you hear the most about. Motor oil is like the life-blood of your engine – it lubricates, protects, and even cools the engine. As such, following a healthy oil changing schedule is an important part of car maintenance. As oil is used by the vehicle, it begins to break down and collect soot and other particles from engine combustion. These particles rub over the engine parts and cause wear and tear. An oil filter prevents most of this damage. However, as the filter fills with dirt and sludge from the oil, it becomes less effective. This is why you should change your oil and oil filter after 3,500 or so miles. You can learn more about oil and oil changes by visiting the oil changing section of the Learning Center.

Power Steering Fluid
Like brake fluid, power steering fluid is part of a hydraulics system. It gives you power to turn the wheel of vehicle easily. As seals and other internal parts begin to wear out, this car fluid can get contaminated with dust or chunks. This can cause a costly repair of the power steering pump if the fluid is not flushed or replaced. If you feel changes in the way your vehicle turns, or if you hear a grinding noise when turning, bring it in to The Tire Choice to see if it needs any of our steering and suspension services.

 

Tips and Facts

Tip: Fluids ensure that parts in your vehicle work smoothly and age gracefully. Be sure to monitor them closely.
Tip: Synthetic oil resists soot and sludge better than regular oil. It’s a great choice for high-performance engines.
Tip: The Tire Choice offers a range of service packages for fluids. Learn more about them on our fluid services page.
Fact: Ethylene glycol, a common component of coolant, is toxic to humans and animals despite its sweet smell and taste.
Fact: ATF runs in a sealed system and should not run low. Low levels of transmission fluid indicate a leak.
 

 



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