We’re all about better understanding vehicles. If you’re a commuter, an enthusiast, new to cars, and anything in between, understanding the types of fluids in a car is an important lesson for all drivers. This comes in handy all the time! It could be when getting your oil changed, noticing a wet spot under your car, or stopping over the side of the road to help someone out, there are so many times when knowing what fluids are in a car can help you or someone in need. Today we will review a few fluids to check in a car and the job they perform in your car or truck.
- Engine Oil – This is probably the most recognizable fluid in your car other than gasoline. Engines have a lot of moving parts and most of these parts are made of metal. The moving parts create friction inside the engine that can get very hot. The job of engine oil is to lubricate these parts to reduce friction and heat. Think about rubbing dry hands against each other as fast as you can. They are going to get hot. Engine oil is like a hand moisturizer that reduces friction and allows the engine parts to glide more easily. Because so much of your car depends on your engine, engine oil is one of the most important vehicle fluids to check. Check out this blog by one of our friends on signs you need an oil change to better understand the process.
- Coolant (antifreeze) – This is the pink fluid in your car. Coolant does exactly what the name implies, it helps keep your car cool and avoid overheating. Internal combustion creates heat that needs to be regulated and/or expelled. This is where coolant comes in. Coolant circulates through your engine block and radiator by the water pump. This process is a type of convection heat transfer where the coolant fluid runs through the hotter mechanical systems to transfer heat out. Chemicals are added to the coolant to help the same parts of your car from freezing in colder temperatures.
- Transmission Fluid – You may notice a trend so far and it continues with transmission fluid. Like engine oil and coolant, transmission fluid also lubricates parts to reduce heat and friction. The fluid stays within the transmission system in all the gears, clutches, and valves. Most cars now come with forever fluid meaning they should last the lifetime of the vehicle under normal circumstances. Checking is tricky and with most newer vehicles, a dipstick doesn’t even exist. Checking car fluid levels is usually an easy process and transmission fluid is an exception. You will most likely need to seek professional experience for any transmission repair or service needs.
- Brake Fluid – A fluid in your car that has a job other than lubricating or cooling parts! Brake fluid creates pressure between the brake pedal and your actual brakes. When you press down on your brake pedal, a plunger presses down on your brake fluid inside the lines. This pushes the brake pad down onto the rotors to slow your car. If brake fluids are low, there can be a delay in the braking system. For your safety and those around you, of all the car fluid levels to check, brake fluid is the most important. Who cares how fast you can go if you can’t stop?
- Windshield Washer Fluid – Strictly for safety, windshield washer fluid has nothing to do with performance. This blue fluid in your car is what allows you to see. You don’t need to be a mechanic to maintain your wiper fluid. A paper funnel, fluid, and a YouTube search are all you need. Of all fluids discussed, this is the easiest fluid to check in a car.
Fluids to Check in a Car
There are plenty of fluids in your car or truck that all have an important purpose and could have their own post. Awareness of these fluids is crucial and we recommend doing more research to better understand each. For the safety of yourself, your vehicle, and others, these are some of the most important types of fluids in a car to monitor and maintain. And if you’re near Golden, CO, call or come in to let us know of any issues you may be having with your car or truck. Our skilled mechanics are happy to answer your questions and diagnose issues you are experiencing with any foreign or domestic.
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