What Fluids Does a Car Need

What Fluids Does a Car Need?

Like your body requires healthy blood to function effectively, your car’s engine relies on numerous fluids for lubrication, cooling, and protection. Therefore, these fluids must be regularly checked on a schedule.

Your owner manual will explain where and when to replenish or flush these fluids. Here are the most frequently needed ones:

Engine Oil

Similar to your body’s bloodstream, motor oil serves as the lifeblood of an engine. It circulates throughout your engine through tiny passages known as galleries, providing lubrication and cooling while simultaneously suspending harmful contaminants that might corrode moving parts or compromise operation.

When selecting engine oil for your vehicle, read and follow your owner’s manual carefully. Some engines need thicker oil than others to withstand higher temperatures, while others may require thinner oils that keep moving parts lubricated. Viscosity ratings show how thick or thin an oil is at zero degrees Fahrenheit while rising to 212 degrees.

Engine oil is one of the easiest fluids to monitor; most cars feature a dipstick that allows quick inspection. Other essential car fluids to monitor include coolant, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid – creating a schedule to check these six fluids will help your car last longer!


Your car’s engine coolant, commonly called antifreeze, is made up of ethylene or propylene glycol mixed with distilled water. This mixture absorbs and disperses excess heat generated from running your engine at high speeds while protecting it from overheating in hot climates and keeping its radiator from freezing during cold spells – essential components in keeping your vehicle running at an optimum level.

Like oil changes, engine coolant should also be regularly checked. Typically, this can be accomplished by pulling out the dipstick or checking markings on the reservoir; manufacturers generally advise using their recommended coolant type.

Windshield washer fluid should also be regularly checked; this fluid helps ensure your windshield stays clear, allowing clear visibility while driving. Furthermore, this easy-to-purchase auto supply store option makes keeping up your fluid levels convenient – check at least every month and top them up if necessary; failure could result in decreased power, gas mileage, and resale value as well as higher repair bills or an accident occurring without proper care taken to maintain them.

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid protects the gears and clutch packs in your transmission, helping them cool down while decreasing friction. Without it, your transmission could quickly wear out or overheat, and you would face costly repair bills.

As with engine oil, transmission fluid is integral in keeping your car performing at its best. Look for fluid from reliable manufacturers like Castrol, Valvoline, or Pennzoil; check your owner’s manual to locate its reservoir and determine what fluid your car requires.

Dexron III, Mercon V, and Mopar ATF are three of the US’s most commonly used automatic transmission fluids (ATF). They’re developed and licensed by three of North America’s biggest carmakers – General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler (now FCA) – specifically to meet the specifications of their new transmission technologies. Many imported cars also utilize one or more of these fluids – always consult your owner’s manual first! Changing it regularly to avoid expensive damage will help ensure the long-term performance of your car! It is important to remember that some require professional help to access their dipstick.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid serves a critical function: it lubricates your brake system and transmits force from your foot onto the pedal to the calipers. Like engine oil, brake fluid is relatively easy to check; most cars feature a dipstick or reservoir with an indicator to allow you to assess its level quickly; if it drops too low, simply add more.

DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluids are popular options. Both are made up of glycol-based fluids that absorb moisture into their structure. High-performance applications often prefer silicone-based brake fluid such as DOT 5, which does not drink water into its composition.

No matter the make or model of your car, it is always advisable to use the type recommended by its manufacturer. While most DOT ratings can be interchanged easily, consult your owner’s manual for the specific rating required by your car. Always opt for premium-grade brake fluid like BG Brake Cleaner and Brake Fluid, which guarantees maximum safety and effectiveness.

Power Steering Fluid

Power steering fluid is essential to the health and operation of any car’s steering system. This hydraulic fluid keeps components like pistons, valves, hoses, and O-rings functioning optimally while protecting from damage. Without it, your power steering may wear down and cause issues for you as a driver.

Power steering fluid, like engine oil, can become contaminated over time and must be changed. The dark color and burnt smell indicate that the liquid no longer performs effectively with particles or sludge present; this could eventually lead to the failure of essential parts such as pumps and gears in power steering systems.

To check power steering fluid levels, locate and unlatch the cylindrical reservoir lid. Depending on your manufacturer, a dipstick should be located under its cap to indicate whether your fluid level is whole or low.

Ensure that the type of power steering fluid your vehicle manufacturer recommends in its owner’s manual. Failure to use this recommended fluid could void your warranty and increase wear on the internal steering parts of your car.


In conclusion, a well-maintained car relies on a variety of essential fluids to ensure optimal performance, longevity, and safety. Understanding and regularly checking these fluids is a fundamental aspect of responsible vehicle ownership.

Each plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of different vehicle components, from engine oil and transmission fluid to brake fluid, coolant, and power steering fluid. Diligent monitoring of fluid levels, along with timely replacements and top-ups, helps prevent mechanical issues, extends the life of critical systems, and contributes to overall driving safety.





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