All about your engine fluids and how to check them
Our expert MotorNuts recommend that you should check your engine oil, antifreeze and brake fluids once a month and always top up before a long journey, it’s always best to check fluids when the engine is cold.
1) Starting with engine oil - choosing which oil may seem confusing - is it fully synthetic, semi synthetic, and then there is lots of numbers (viscosity’s) to choose. Most car owners need a fully synthetic engine oil which tends to have longer life, will cope with higher temperatures and more extreme pressures hence why they tend to be used by manufacturers of modern cars they also extend their service intervals by significant margins.
2) Next up is your transmission oil or gear box oil, it is the lesser known sibling of engine oil however equally important for gearbox and axle longevity. Most manufacturers recommend changing the transmission oil between every 30,000 and 60,000 miles. Don’t be alarmed –transmission oil is usually red or green in colour, so there’s no confusion with the other oils
3) Antifreeze and coolants are next. These are essential to maintaining the engine temperature so it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. As well as preventing water from freezing up, antifreeze is vital because it raises the boiling point of engine coolants to prevent overheating. When changing the antifreeze look for the clear overflow plastic container near the radiator. If the liquid is below the minimum line, fill with a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze.
4) Brake fluid is available in three main specs; dot 3, dot 4 and dot 5, you can easily check which one you need with our vehicle look up system above. Brake fluid is used to transfer force into pressure and to amplify braking force. The brake fluid is usually in a clear reservoir marked with minimum and maximum lines.
5) Power steering fluids are essential for obvious reasons and easily checked and topped up – this needs to be kept lubricated to avoid any damage so check regularly. The small tank is located near the firewall, at the windshield’s base and the level should be between the minimum and maximum levels.
A MotorNuts top tip is to run an engine treatment through your system as it can often clear any build ups or blockages and issues and even switch off warning lights, maintaining performance as well as maximising fuel economy and reducing emissions, they’re especially good to run through before your car goes for its MOT.