Know Your Car Fluids: A Guide To Proper Fill-Ups And Maintenance

by Rae Castillon

Car maintenance often involves checking the most important parts of the vehicle. As most people know, this includes the tires, wheels, shocks, lights, engine, and other car parts that ensure a smooth drive.

However, not all essential components of a vehicle in good working condition are solid to the touch. In fact, some of the most vital ones are the hidden liquids beneath shells of metal, glass, and plastic. Much like blood flowing underneath your skin, muscles, organs, and bones, these fluids are vital in keeping cars running smoothly.

Since they are crucial to the vehicle’s proper functioning, checking the different fluids in your car is also a vital task in car maintenance. Below are the four most essential fluids and tips for keeping them in shape to help you learn more.

1. Engine Oil

A vehicle’s engine consists of components that move and rotate quickly. Pumps, cylinders, and all other moving parts rub together, creating friction in the process. Fortunately, the engine oil lubricates the joints and friction points, preventing wear and tear in the process.

Checking And Maintenance

To check your engine oil, consult your owner’s manual and pop up the hood to find the dipstick. Remove and wipe it clean using a rag or towel. Once it’s ready, reinsert it to get a clean read of the fluid level in the tank.

Make sure that it’s within the indicated range in your car manual. If it isn’t, top it up as needed. Avoid overfilling.

Engine oil checks should be done routinely every month or so. A quick peek at the oil level and condition – as well as a visual inspection underneath the car to check for leaks – is enough to determine if the oil is in tip-top shape. Don’t forget to change it according to the schedule indicated in your car manual.

2. Coolant

The engine coolant is responsible for maintaining the ideal temperature of the engine. This is vital to the vehicle’s efficiency and emissions and in reducing wear and tear of the engine components over time.

When you keep the engine coolant in its ideal level and condition, you protect the engine from overheating. This translates to plenty of money saved from otherwise expensive trips to the car workshop.

Checking And Maintenance

To check the coolant level, find the transparent or opaque overflow plastic container under the hood. This should be located near the radiator. It also has a “min” and “max” reading embossed or printed on the side.

Since the liquid is visible, you can determine whether it’s within the ideal level. If it’s below the minimum line, fill it up with a mixture of water and antifreeze up to the maximum level (along the “max” line).

If you pop up the hood and find no container, you may need to open the radiator cap to see whether the coolant level reaches the top.

When adding more coolant, you need to unscrew the reservoir and pour the mixture. Take note that the 50-50 ratio is a generalization and may differ across different car models. To be sure, check the owner’s manual for your vehicle.

Warning: Never check the coolant levels while the engine is still hot to avoid injury.

You can use water alone during emergencies, but this would only work for a couple of miles. After that, you should seek a car mechanic in Dubai to help top up your engine coolant.

Monthly checking of this fluid is recommended, although it can be done sooner when there’s a leak or during summer when the car’s cooling system works overtime.

3. Brake Fluid

Ask anyone who owns or has driven a car, and they’ll tell you to make a habit of checking your brake fluid. Why? Because this fluid adds “muscle” on the brake pedals.

Brake fluid puts pressure on the brake rotors when you step on the brake pedal. This results in a more effortless and instant halting of the vehicle.

Although you shouldn’t have to check it at all, spotting a brake fluid leak could mean life or death – literally – from faulty brakes.

Besides leaks, brake fluid may also get contaminated over time. For instance, water can cause brake lines to rust, which may cause contamination. If you find dark liquid, take it as a serious warning sign that it is time to bring your vehicle to the mechanic.

Checking And Maintenance

The brake fluid reservoir is normally located near the back of the engine compartment. In many cars, this comes in opaque plastic containers with minimum and maximum level indicators.

As with other liquids vital in keeping your car up and running, you have to ensure that the brake fluid is within the ideal level. Remember that the brake fluid is responsible for stopping a vehicle in its tracks, which is as important as keeping it moving.

4. Transmission Fluid

Like the engine oil and coolant, the transmission fluid is responsible for lubricating and cooling your vehicle’s components, particularly the gears, valves, and clutches.

Although many cars come with “lifetime” fluid that shouldn’t ever need to be replaced, it can sometimes go bad, causing strange noises, rough shifting, and uncontrolled surging during a drive.

Checking And Maintenance

If you experience any issue with the transmission, the first thing you must do is check the fluid levels. Some models use a dipstick for this purpose, but others need an expert mechanic to check its level and condition.

In case your vehicle has a dipstick, follow the process in checking mentioned above. Just remember to turn on the engine and set it to Park or Neutral to get an accurate reading.

The ideal color of “healthy” transmission fluid is red or amber. It should also feel smooth. Be wary of dark, gritty, or cloudy fluids.

Keep in mind that transmissions are complex vehicle components. If you continue to have problems with your Audi even after topping it up with fresh fluid, contact a DT Service Audi workshop near you.

Top Up These Power Juices

Vehicles need fluids for optimum function. Without them, the car and your safety might be compromised. Remember to check all the liquids that are vital to your car’s health with the help of this article.



Ahmad Ramadan is a Managing Partner at Deutsche Technik Service Center, Dubai’s first and largest VW, Audi, Mercedes, Bentley, Porsche, & Lamborghini vehicle specialist and performance tuner. DT has also built an illustrious portfolio in classic car repair, maintenance, and restoration, as well as body work (accident repair, painting, and denting). DT Service Centre offers a full range of services: mechanical repairs, maintenance, servicing, etc.

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