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Car services in UK   ⇒  Changing oils and operating fluids

Car fluids that you should check to keep your car in good condition.

Cars require a lot of attention to be able to drive smoothly. The easiest thing is to check your fluids to keep your car healthy. With that in mind, here are five fluids that you should check regularly.

A large part of car maintenance is preventive, and regardless of skill level, virtually anyone who can lift the hood can check the fluids. Regular checkups ensure the car is working well and reduces the cost of repairs. Knowing the basics also gives you the confidence that you won't be forced to flush and change fluids when you do maintenance in your car. All you need to know is where to look and what to look for.

Changing oils and operating fluids - car service in UK

How often should I check liquids?


Often that means how?
At what intervals?
Let's look at what "often" really means. Remember that each car is slightly different, but the dates below are quite universal.

  • Engine oil

    There is a chance, that the first thing you learned about your first car was checking the oil. You have to do this in every car and almost every car has the same basic checking process.
    On most cars, just lift the bonnet, find the oil dipstick, pull it out and wipe it. Repeat this again and you'll get an oil level. If it is on a safe level, continue your cheerful journey. If not, you need to add more. Depending on the age of the car, it may be necessary to top up the oil quite often. If your car consumes a lot of oil, it's worth going to a mechanic.

    How often to check it:

    It was once recommended to check the oil every time you refuel, but in most modern cars you can safely check it once a month.

    How often to replace it:

    It depends on the car, manufacturer and year. The saying "3000 miles or every six months" doesn't really apply anymore. Instead, check the manufacturer's instructions for changing the engine oil.

  • Transmission fluid

    Transmission fluid is responsible for changing the gears in the car.
    Transmission fluid can be checked in the same way as engine oil, except that the car should then run. Transmission fluid is part of a closed system, so it should never be low. If so, take it to a mechanic. Instead of volume, you look at the quality of the fluid. The liquid should be red and not smell like burning. If the liquid is brown or smells burned, it's time to replace it.

    How often to check it:

    Every month.

    How often to replace it:

    Depending on the car and type of transmission, but usually every 50,000 to 100,000 miles.

  • Coolant

    As the name suggests, the coolant cools the engine when the car is running and keeps it at a low temperature. If you run out of coolant, your car will probably overheat. The coolant is inside the radiator and can usually be checked by simply removing the radiator cap when the car is cool (never check when it is hot or when the car is running) and looking inside. After removing the plug, a line should appear, to which the coolant should come. If it's low, you can add more, but make sure you add the same type of coolant that's currently in your car.

    How often to check it:

    At least twice a year: once before summer and again before winter. But just take a look when you open the hood.

    How often to replace it:

    Every 2-3 years.

  • Brake fluid

    Like the transmission fluid, brake fluid is part of a closed system, so it should never be low. Still, it's worth to check if it's clean. Brake fluid keeps the brakes working properly, so if you ever feel a little weak, checking the brake fluid is usually the first step. This can be done by checking the brake fluid reservoir on the driver's side of the car. You can usually check the level by looking only outside the container. The fluid should have a golden color. If it's brown, it's time to replace it.

    How often to check:

    When changing the oil.

    How often to replace it:

    Every 2 years.

  • Power steering fluid

    Power steering fluid helps maintain smoothness and ease of steering. When the fluid level in the power steering system starts to get low, you may feel "squeaking" in the steering wheel or hear strange noises. To check it, just open the cover and find the tank. Usually, this can be checked visually by looking at the tank. Power steering fluid does not usually drop too much, so if it's low, it's worth taking the car to a mechanic or looking for a leak.

    How often to check it:

    Once a month.

    How often to replace it:

    From 50,000 miles to never. Usually, most car manuals recommend keeping the power steering fluid level at the highest level, but it is rarely necessary to flush and replace it. Check the user manual carefully to make sure you can ignore it.

So set up calendar reminders and take these notes. If you regularly check your car's fluids, your car will be in good condition for a long time.

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