Car fluids: What you should know

Car fluids
Car engine.

Like a human being runs on blood as its primary fluid and is maintained by a plethora of other fluids that go in and out, cars also require a variety of fluids for their health and smooth operation. Whether you own a car or are an experienced car user, it's important to be familiar with the ins and outs of your car's fluids. Here's a quick refresher on the essential car fluids and the basic information you should know about them.

Engine oil

Engine oil is the most critical fluid in a car as it lubricates the engine's moving parts, reducing friction and wear. It also helps keep the engine cool by absorbing and transferring heat away from it. Over time, oil can become dirty and contaminated, diminishing its effectiveness. There are three types of fluids to choose from: natural, semi-synthetic, and full-synthetic. Changing the engine oil at regular intervals is essential to prevent engine damage and ensure optimal performance. The recommended mileage for oil changes varies among different cars, but it's generally safe to change oils every 3,000-3,500 km when using natural oil, 5,000 km for semi-synthetic, and around 10,000 km for full-synthetic engine oil.

Car fluids

Transmission fluid

Transmission fluid is another crucial fluid in a car as it helps transfer power from the engine to the wheels. It also lubricates the gears, prevents friction and grinding, and keeps the transmission from overheating. Similar to engine oil, transmission fluid can become dirty and contaminated, potentially causing transmission damage. It's recommended to change the transmission fluid every 40,000 to 60,000 km, depending on the car's make and model.

Brake fluid

Brake fluid is solely responsible for transferring force from the brake pedal to the brakes, allowing you to slow down and stop your vehicle. Over time, brake fluid can absorb moisture and become contaminated, reducing its effectiveness and potentially leading to brake failure. It's recommended to change the brake fluid every two years or every 40,000 km, whichever comes first.

Car fluids

Power steering fluid

While some cars have electronic steering that doesn't require power steering fluid, others rely on it. Power steering fluid provides hydraulic pressure for steering the vehicle and lubricates the power steering pump and gears. Like other fluids, power steering fluid can become dirty and contaminated, resulting in poor performance and potential damage to the power steering system. Although changing power steering fluid is not needed as frequently as other fluids mentioned above, it's crucial to change this fluid every 70,000 to 100,000 km to maintain a healthy steering system.

Differential fluid

The differential is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels, allowing them to rotate at different speeds. Differential fluid lubricates the gears and bearings and keeps the differential cool. To prevent gear grinding and maintain a healthy differential, it's recommended to change the differential fluid every 50,000 to 70,000 km.

Regular fluid changes are essential to keep your car running smoothly and prevent damage to its components. While the recommended intervals for changing fluids may vary depending on the car's make and model, it's important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure the performance and longevity of your vehicle.