How To Check Your Vehicle’s Fluids

October 24th, 2022 by

Mechanics man is opening radiator cap of car engine

Your car’s maintenance is super important to your safety and the lifespan of your vehicle. Something you can do to maintain your vehicle is to check your car’s fluids and keep them at a good level. If you have never done that before, do not fret, Popular Mechanics has these tips for you!

Engine Oil

Maintaining and checking your engine oil helps keep your car running smoothly. You check your oil with a dipstick, taking it and wiping it clean before reinserting it into a cool engine. If your oil is at the maximum, it is okay, If it is low, add more immediately. You should also check if the oil is clean. Take the oil on the dipstick and smoosh it between your two fingers, if it is smooth you are okay. If it is gritty, and dark coffee color, change your oil.


You need to check your coolant every 50,000 miles. Some vehicles have a coolant expansion tank where you will check to see if the coolant is in between the maximum and minimum. Or, you will open the radiator cap to see if the coolant is at the top. Make sure the coolant you have is for your car, you fill it when the car has been off for a bit and the engine is cool, and that you allow it some time to burp out the extra bubbles before replacing the cap.

Power Steering, Brake, and Transmission Fluids

There is no set time when to check your power steering fluid, it is important to know how anyway. Typically there will be a dipstick you can use to check the levels. If the level is low, top it off with the fluid for your car. If you are replacing the power steering fluid frequently, there could be a leak for you to get checked out.

If you are having delayed stops when breaking, check the brake fluid. Sometimes break fluid becomes contaminated with water and rusts the brake lines, or leaks can occur. When replacing brake fluid, make sure you have the kind for your car, it is see-through, and you fill it between the minimum and maximum lines.

If you start to have transmission problems, check the fluid first. Transmission fluid acts similarly to engine oil by cooling and lubricating the components of your transmission. Some cars you can check yourself with a dipstick and some need a professional mechanic.

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Windshield Wiper Fluid

While windshield wiper fluid is not needed for your car’s maintenance, it is vital for safe driving. Luckily, windshield wiper fluid is pretty cheap and easy to find at any gas station or auto store. All you have to do is pour the fluid into its reservoir and you are good to go!

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