Part of Caring Car Care is being proactive about your vehicle’s maintenance and watching your fluid levels is a perfect way to stay on top of your car’s care. Your vehicle’s oil and filter regularly cools, cleans and lubricates your engine’s vital parts. Many other specially designed fluids are used for the smooth operation and protection of systems and components including automatic and manual transmissions, power steering, brakes, transfer cases and cooling. It is also likely that your vehicle is equipped with a variety of filters including those for the transmission, fuel system, and interior ventilation
What to Watch For:
Regular oil and filter changes prevent dirt, dust, metallic shavings and other foreign debris from contaminating the motor oil and gumming up the engine. Other fluids require periodic replacement as well. Most automatic transmission failures are heat-related and your automatic transmission fluid can quickly break down when subjected to high temperatures. You may also want to pay attention to your break hydraulic system, particularly vehicles with antilock brakes (ABS), which may require periodic flushing as contaminated brake fluid could lead to erosion and other problems in the hydraulic system.
By the Numbers:
- 3,000 – Number of miles (or three months) after which you should change your oil and filter.
- Demonstrating certain driving behaviors accentuate the need to adhere to the 3,000 mile/3-month schedule:
- Making regular short trips
- Driving in stop-and-go traffic
- Idling for extended periods
- Driving in dusty or dirty air conditions
- Towing a trailer
- Living in a cold-weather region
- 24,000 – Number of miles (or every two years) coolant should be changed on cars with ethylene glycol antifreeze. Extended life coolants require less frequent changes.