How to Check my Car Fluid Levels

November 27th, 2018 by

Coolant 

car coolant light warningThe role of coolants in car engines is to keep the engine cool during hot weather and prevent freezing during winter. Also referred to as antifreeze, checking the coolant levels regularly is important for proper vehicle functioning.

 Most cooling systems are located under the hood. Your owner’s manual will have specific details on the exact location. Always wait for the car to cool before checking coolant levels. You can check the overflow tank next to the radiator or by opening the radiator cap (be careful because of the high pressure). If the level is low, top up with the recommended level and brand. There are different coolant liquid colors. The most popular coolant liquid colors are blue, green, yellow and red. Avoid mixing different coolant colors!

 

Engine Oil 

engine oil warning light

Arguably the most important fluid in a vehicle, the engine oil helps with combustion, cooling, reducing friction and cleaning the engine. 

 Before checking the engine oil level, first look at the dashboard icons for engine oil alerts (oil light goes off when oil pressure is low).  Park the car on a level ground and leave the engine to cool down. Open the hood, pull the dipstick from the engine and wipe it using a cloth or paper towel and dip it back again. Pull the dipstick back up and check the level of the oil based on the low and high markings. What is the engine oil color? A dark color (black) may signify that you need to have an oil change. If the engine oil color is brown and clean, check if the level is low for a top up (always use the manufacturer recommended engine oil). Avoid mixing different types of engine oils in case you top up the engine oil yourself!

You can schedule an oil change at any of Larry H. Miller dealerships online at the comfort of your home

 

Power Steering Fluid 

Steering fluid helps with the smooth steering and turning off your car. The power steering pump facilitates the flow of the steering fluid. When your steering wheel starts getting stiff, this may be a sign that your level is low due to leaks or damage on the steering pump. Compared to the other fluids, have a mechanic check for any leaks before topping up. Locate the steering fluid reservoir in the hood and check the level marks for the correct levels.

steering wheel fluid light

Brake Fluid 

Brake fluid is crucial in the braking system of your vehicle. When you hit the brakes and the car takes longer to stop, you might want to check the brake fluid if the brakes are still in good shape. The easiest way to check the brake fluid level is by locating the brake fluid reservoir in the hood and reading the levels marks.

brake fluid warning light

Transmission Fluid 

Gear shifting is made possible by the transmission fluid. Similar to the engine oil, the transmission fluid has a dipstick that helps you check for the level. To check the transmission fluid level, first park on level ground, open the hood, located the dipstick and remove it. Secondly, clean the dipstick and insert it back. The marking should show “Hot” and “Cold” or “Full” and “Add” for easy reading. Besides the fluid level, the color matters. Clean transmission fluid is usually pink in color. A cloudy, milky and smelly transmission fluid may be due to contamination. If this is the case, contact a car mechanic as soon as possible. To top up, check your owner’s manual and use the recommended transmission fluid to the correct level.

transmission fluid warning light

Windshield Washer Fluid

The windshield washer fluid is used to clean your windshield. To check the washer fluid level, open the hood and remove the washer fluid reservoir cap.  

 Depending on the location of the washer fluid reservoir, you can check the mark levels on it to know if you need to top up the level. Avoid using water as a wiper fluid due to the possibility of freezing. A safe bet will be using the winter washer fluid.

Looking for Car Fluid Level Service? 

Checking fluid levels can seem like an easy task. If you experience issues with fluid leaks, discolorations or warnings on your dashboard, get in touch with one of our many experienced service technicians. 

 

Posted in How To