Being a good driver means always ensuring that you are on top of things. Your car maintenance should be no different. Checking that your car’s engine has everything it needs in order to operate effectively and efficiently is crucial if you want to drive safely and keep your car’s performance at optimum levels.
One of the things that you must keep in mind therefore, are the fluid levels. A formula one car requires several different fluids to run smoothly and these must be checked often to keep them at the required levels.
If the brake fluid is depleted, your brakes will not be applied with the necessary force, which can be extremely dangerous. If the engine oil is low, your car’s engine will not be adequately lubricated and wear and tear will occur to essential components, meaning damage and the cost of repair. As a car owner, you must always ensure that these fluids are checked and maintained at peak levels at all times.
Even if your car does not have a Formula One engine, running it with anything less than optimum fluid levels can lead to things going wrong which can be not only expensive to fix, but which will make driving extremely dangerous.
Therefore, here are a few precautions you should take in order to ensure that your car fluids are as they should be;
Oil reduces friction and keeps your engine running smoothly. At least once a month, and ideally more often, you should therefore check your engine’s oil level, and ensure that it isn’t contaminated in which case it will need changing. Before checking your car’s oil levels, always make sure that the engine is cold, or has been off for at least 10 minutes.
Locate the engine oil compartment cap, then remove and wipe the dipstick clean with a lint-free rag. Re-insert it back into the tube for a reading of the oil levels. The stick usually has the normal levels indicated, and may have a marker for levels below which you need to add more oil. If the levels are too low, do not drive the car before replenishing it. You can buy usually oil from petrol stations, car supply shops and supermarkets. Just make sure you buy the correct type of oil for your car. Look online if you are not sure which type your make and model of car needs.
When refilling the oil, do not try and add it into the tiny tube the dipstick sits in. Locate the screw-off cap for the main engine oil compartment.
One other thing you should also keep in mind with your engine oil is that it requires changing frequently, as per the car’s service schedules. Keep these schedules and never miss a changing date as it is crucial for the smooth running of your vehicle. If your oil looks dirty or smells of petrol, it may be contaminated and need changing. Ask your mechanic for advice if you are not sure.
Coolant, or anti-freeze, is what helps your vehicle not to overheat. Overheating can be devastating to a car’s engine so it has a very important purpose. You can easily check on the levels of your coolant by looking at the plastic and clear container that is near the radiator. If you ever find this liquid going below the required minimum line, refill it immediately with a 50 x 50 mixture of anti-freeze solution and water.
Mixing it like this helps it operate better and last longer as well. Plus, in case of snowy and cold conditions, it will still be able to operate as required.
Power steering fluid
This is a small tank that is usually located near the firewall which is at the base of the windshield. The level of this fluid should be in between the maximum and minimum levels in order for your car to operate effectively.
This may be a fluid that most people never remember to check on, but it is extremely important for your steering wheel to operate properly. Check on it every now and then, and keep it at the recommended levels.
You may have heard of accidents that have happened as a result of the brakes failing? This is very common, and it usually happens when brake fluid levels have been depleted. It is extremely important to always check on these levels to ensure that your car will save your life when you need to slam on the brakes suddenly.
Brake fluid is usually in a clear reservoir that is marked with maximum and minimum levels. You should ensure that either you, or your mechanic, check on these levels frequently, and, if it is low, get your entire system checked out before refilling. This is because there could be a leak of the fluid, or the brake pads may be worn out already, and this will mean you need to replace them or have them repaired. Do not ever refill the brake fluids before you have had them checked to determine why they are low in the first place.
This is the fluid you use to clean your windshield when the weather changes or when it is dirty. It is important to always ensure that you have this fluid topped up at all times because you never know when you will need to clean the windshield.
The rule is to always keep it full because this will ensure that you aren’t taken by surprise and left driving with poor visibility.
When inspecting all of these fluids, do not forget to check on the tyres. Check their pressure and ensure you top up with air if they are low on pressure. It’s also important to keep up your checks and services with your mechanics to ensure that your car is running at optimum performance at all times.
Vehicles are extremely sensitive and they need constant care for them to run as required. Never ignore any warning lights on your dashboard and report them to your garage if you cannot remedy them yourself. This is especially important if you want your car to last for the long-term and don’t want costly repairs at MOT time.