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5 Important Fluids that Keep Your Car Running Smoothly

You might not give the inner workings of your vehicle much thought. Chances are, you jump in the driver's seat, start the ignition, and you're off. However, there are many parts and systems within your car that enable it to start and drive off.

Your car is made of many working parts. Together they provide the function, safety, and comfort of your vehicle. Most people come to rely on the proper function of their car. Often, however, drivers don't question these working parts until they stop working.

If you want to keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come, you have to take the proper maintenance steps. When it comes to maintaining your vehicle and taking care of its parts, it seems that tires, brakes, and the transmission get all the attention.

While those are vital parts of your car to understand and give the proper care, understanding your car's fluids are just as important.

Why Focus on Fluids?

Think of the fluids in your car's engine as the lifeblood of your vehicle. Clean fluids at the proper levels ensure that your car works properly. Not only does maintaining fluids increase your vehicle's performance and safety, but when you keep up regular maintenance your car's fluids will help keep repair costs down.

Below are 5 important fluids that directly affect the performance and function of your vehicle.

Brake fluid

If you couldn't guess by the name, brake fluid keeps your brakes in top condition. Since the brake system is hydraulic, it relies on the fluid to create the pressure that causes a car to stop. So, this is an extremely important fluid to maintain, as it directly affects your safety.

Keep in mind that the brake system is a closed-off network. So, if you are low, or repeatedly get low, on brake fluid, it could be a sign you need new brakes. The fluid is a golden color, so if it's brown, that's a sign that it's time to replace it.

Generally speaking, brake fluid should be replaced every two years. However, it's a good idea to check it or get it checked every time the oil is changed.


Coolant is a mixture of water and antifreeze that is stored in the radiator to keep the engine cool. If you're low on coolant, your car will quickly overheat. Luckily, it's easy to determine if you're low on coolant.

Once the car is cool, pop the hood and remove the radiator cap. You should see a clear line. This is where the coolant should reach, so, if it's below the line, you know you're low.

Coolant needs to be replaced about every two to three years. You should check it annually, and it's a good idea to do so before summer begins and before winter. Since it's easy to see and spot the level when you go under the hood, it's not a bad idea to check it if you're there.

Engine oil

The most common maintenance care is probably an oil change. This is an important fluid to check because it keeps all the working parts within the engine lubricated and clean.

Some people swear by the every 3,000-mile rule. However, for many cars, this isn't always necessary. Be sure to check the engine oil once a month, and consult your owner's manual to see when you should change the oil.

Power steering

Power steering fluid allows you to seamlessly maneuver the steering wheel. If you hear odd sounds when you move the steering wheel, that's a good indication you may be low on power steering fluid.

You should check the fluid about once a month. It's also worth noting that you rarely, if ever, will have to completely flush this fluid. Most vehicles just need a top off, but if you do have a car that calls for replacement, that's usually only necessary every 50,000 miles or so. Your owner's manual will be able to tell about your vehicle's specific needs.

Transmission fluid

Transmission fluid keeps the gears in your engine running smoothly. However, just like your brakes, the fluid is located in a closed system, so, if you experience leaks, you should have it checked out immediately.

It's good to check the fluid monthly and replace it between every 50,000 - 100,000 miles, or if you notice the fluid is brown and/or smells burnt.

To make sure your vehicle is in tiptop shape, you have to take care of your fluids. For flushes, a top off, and all your other car maintenance needs, be sure to lean on Mavis Discount Tire. Being a family owned and operated business for over 50 years, we strive to bring quality, value, and integrity to all customers.

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