How To Check And Fill Your Fluids

How To Check And Fill Your Fluids

Everybody that owns a vehicle should know how to check and fill their vehicle’s fluids. There are a few major fluid levels to check on most vehicles. By checking the fluids in your vehicle regularly you can help to save yourself from costly auto repairs.

Lets start with the windshield washer fluid: Have you ever noticed when you use your windshield washer that the fluid is blue? The fluid solution is a combination of solvents with a detergent. The solution may also contain antifreeze. It’s pretty simple to fill and if you have a funnel it can make it even easier to fill. The washer fluid reservoir is under the hood. If you can not locate where the reservoir is, check your owners manual it should show you how to find it. After you have located the reservoir just fill it to the top.

The next thing you want to check is the brake fluid. This pretty easy to check also because most vehicles will have a level mark on the reservoir and as long as the brake fluid is to the level line it’s good. This way you do not have to open the cap that is on the master cylinder.

If you look and see that the fluid is not at the level line just open the cap on the master cylinder and put enough fluid into the reservoir to reach the level line. Be careful with brake fluid because it will eat the paint of your car if is spilled and left on the paint. Always keep a nice clean rag with you when filling the brake reservoir. If you don’t have any brake fluid go to you local auto store and pick some up and make sure it’s for an automobile. If you are not sure ask the guy behind the counter.

Let’s move on to the power steering fluid. Before you check the power steering fluid make sure that the vehicle engine has been warmed up or as some would say to the proper operating temperature. Power steering fluid looks red and most of the time you can check it by simply un-screwing the cap right from the pump itself. The cap usually has a small dip stick attached to it. The dip stick will have a fill line on it. Use a funnel and pour the fluid in slowly so you don’t over-fill. Sometimes the reservoir is not attached to the pump but has a separate reservoir.

When checking the engine coolant, “CAUTION” is the firt rule of thumb. Never, ever open a radiator cap when the engine is hot. This is a great way to get burned. There is a lot of pressure that builds up when the engine is hot.

You can check the fluid by looking at the level line on the over flow reservoir. If it needs coolant just un-screw the cap from the over flow reservoir or bottle and fill to the level line.

Again never open the radiator cap when the engine is hot. That is one of the reasons why there is an over flow reservoir. If your vehicle, for some reason, does not have an over flow then wait until the engine cools down before you open the radiator cap.

To check the transmission fluid the vehicle needs to be in park or neutral with the brake on. The vehicle also needs to be running. You also want the engine warmed up before you check the fluid. To check the fluid, locate the dip stick which will most likely be towards the back of the engine on the passenger side.

With the engine running pull out the dip stick and wipe it off with a rag, then stick it back into the tube were you just pulled it from. Make sure you push the stick all the way down. Now pull the dip stick out and look on the stick for the level lin. If you need fluid add a little at a time and fill to the level line. Before you push the dip stick back down the tube be sure to wipe it off each time in order to will get a proper reading. Use a funnel when filling with fluid.

Note: If you have a manual transmission you need to get under the vehicle and remove a plug. Check the owner’s manual before you attempt checking the fluid. With transmission fluid you may be better off to let your mechanic check this. Checking it once a year should be fine unless you start hearing noises coming from the transmission.

Last but certainly not least is the engine oil. This is also checked with a dip stick and it is usually found towards the front of the engine on the passenger side. It should have the word “oil” on it. To check the oil turn the engine off and wait a few minutes to let the fluid drain into the oil pan so you can get a good reading on the dip stick. Another good time to check the oil is before you start the engine.

When you pull out the dip stick wipe it clean and look for a minimum and maximum level marking on the dip stick. Then put the dip stick into the tube push it all the way down. Wait a second and pull the stick back out and look and see where the oil level is on the stick. If the oil is at the minimum mark add a quart of oil. If it’s at the maximum you are good to go. If it’s in the middle you can add a half a quart. Use a funnel when putting oil into your vehicle.

You should check the oil at least once a month but preferably once every two weeks.

By taking the time to do these simple checks you can save yourself a lot of money. Checking the fluid and filling them properly now and not waiting until something goes wrong is a lot less painful for your pocket book when it comes to auto repairs.

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