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5 Essential Car Fluids You Should Check Regularly

It is pretty risky to ignore the state of the fluid in your car's engine. Most of the fluids in your engine are necessary for your car to run. Do you know how to check your engine's fluids? 

Amie-Lynn Mitchell

Content Creator

5 Essential Car Fluids You Should Check Regularly

There are nine different fluids circulating through the various systems inside your car. Let's face it, keeping everything in your head isn't always easy. Among the essential fluids are engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. In this article, you'll learn about these essential fluids so that you can provide the proper attention and maintenance when it's needed. To learn more, continue reading.


Engine Oil

Engine oil consists of base oil and additives. It has become known as the engine's lifeblood. This is because of its ability to keep internal combustion engines lubricated. The color of the new engine oil is slightly translucent and amber. Its principal activities include friction reduction, cooling, sealing, and protecting moving parts. Furthermore, lubrication with engine oil prevents the moving parts from grinding against each other. It also contributes to improved fuel efficiency and engine longevity. Good oil also reduces polluting emissions into the atmosphere.

Ideally, you should check your vehicle’s engine oil at least once a month. The recommended oil change interval is every three months or 4500 kilometers. To determine the best oil change schedule, refer to your owner's manual. 

So, here's how you can check your engine oil.

Step 1: First, make sure your car is turned off and parked on level ground.

Step 2: Open the hood and locate the dipstick on the oil tank. 

Step 3: Remove the dipstick and clean the oil off with a clean cloth.

Step 4: Reinsert the dipstick into its original position.

Step 5: Take it out once more and examine the oil level. If the oil level falls below the minimum, you'll need to top it up.


Transmission fluid

Transmission fluid lubricates the components of a car's transmission to ensure maximum efficiency. There are 3 types of TF: automatic, manual, and CVT transmission fluid. Each car manufacturer will require a specific transmission fluid for their vehicles. So always check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic to know the right type for your car. Choosing the wrong type can cause severe damage to the system and can cost you a thousand dollars.
Similarly to engine oil, it needs to be checked about once a month and changed regularly. For automatic transmission, the suggested range is 80,000 to 100,000 kilometers. For manual transmission, it is at least every 50,000 kilometers or at the most 90,000 kilometers, depending on the make and model. To confirm the recommended interval for your car, consult your owner's manual.

When checking your transmission fluid, make sure to follow these steps.

Step 1: Park your car on a flat surface and turn on the engine to get an accurate reading.

Step 2: Open the hood and locate the transmission fluid pipe.

Step 3: Once you've found it, take out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a clean cloth.

Step 4: Reinsert it back and pull it out again.

Step 5: Now, check the fluid level on the dipstick. If it's below the appropriate mark, fill it up. Check the appearance of the fluid to see if it's time to change it.

Most new cars do not have a dipstick. You will have to check the transmission to inspect the fluid. The steps to take are as follows.

Step 1: Park your car on a flat surface and turn on the engine to get an accurate reading.

Step 2: Use a jack to raise the car.

Step 3: Locate the fill plug on the transmission.

Step 4: The transmission fluid should come out after you remove the fill plug. If this is not the case, the fluid level is low. 

Step 5: A fluid transfer hand pump can be used to add more fluid.



Coolant is a mixture of water and antifreeze located in the radiator of your car. As the name suggests, it keeps the water in the cooling system from freezing while driving. Coolants aid in temperature regulation in engines. It contains additives that prevent corrosion or rust from forming inside the radiator. Coolant comes in various colors, including pink, red, orange, blue, green, and yellow. Additionally, coolant helps to keep your engine cool in the summer and keeps it from freezing in the winter. Your engine may overheat if there is insufficient coolant. Antifreeze keeps the temperature of your engine balanced, so it can perform well in all weather conditions.

Check your coolant at least twice a year before summer and winter hit to avoid usual problems such as coolant leaks, low coolant levels,... And to keep your car running at optimum efficiency, change the coolant fluid every two years or 30,000 kilometers. More information about the proper type of coolant and change intervals can be found in your owner's manual.

It will take about a minute to check your coolant. Although some cars lack a reservoir, most cars have overflow tanks to check the coolant level. In any case, wait for your engine to cool before checking the coolant. A hot coolant can burn you if you open a radiator cap while the engine is still hot. 

This is a step-by-step guide on how to check your car's coolant.

Step 1: Locate the coolant tank under the hood.

Step 2: Observe your coolant level in the radiator or from the side of the tank.

Step 3: The coolant in the radiator is likely low if you can't see it. If the fluid level in the tank is below the full mark, it is low.

Step 4: Coolant should be added to the correct level.


Brake Fluid

The brake fluid is responsible for transmitting the applied force and pressure from your foot on the brake pedal to the brake to bring the car to a complete stop. Brake fluid protects the brake components in your car, such as the wheel cylinders, ABS, and calipers, from corrosion caused by moisture contamination. The color of most brake fluids ranges from clear to yellowish to golden.

Brake fluid is extremely vital to any car's braking system. Your brakes will not work without it, and your car's braking ability will be severely harmed. Brake fluid is necessary for you and your car's safety.

Following the owner's manual's instructions is the best way to determine when your brake fluid should be changed. In general, every two years is the recommended change interval. Also, be sure to check the brake fluid each time you change the engine oil, or at least once a year.

You can ensure that your brake fluid is in good working order by following the steps below.

Step 1: Locate the master cylinder, which houses the brake fluid reservoir, under the hood of the car. It's usually found near the back of the engine, on the driver's side. If you're having trouble locating it, check your owner's manual.

Step 2: Remove the reservoir's cap by unscrewing it.

Step 3: Examine the fluid level and, if necessary, add brake fluid to the reservoir. Cap should be replaced.

Power Steering Fluid

The hydraulic fluid that transfers power from the steering wheel to the steering mechanism is called power steering fluid. The power steering facilitates quick and effortless turning of the steering wheel. It will also serve as a lubricant for the system's moving parts. Pink, red, and green car are basic colors of steering fluids.

Also, it safeguards the system's moving parts and ensures the efficient functioning of the steering mechanism. Low power steering fluid can lead to accidents and damage the entire mechanism.

To assure the health and safety of your car, check your power steering fluid once a month. A good rule of thumb is to change it every 50,000-100,000 kilometers, depending on your car model. Please consult your owner's manual to confirm your car's change intervals and fluid type to avoid making assumptions and mistakes.

Here's how to check the power steering fluid in your car.

Step 1: Find the power-steering-fluid reservoir. A power-steering fluid reservoir is found under the hood of a car, usually on the passenger side, but it can also be found on the driver's side. Several cars have maximum and minimum line markings on the outside of the transparent reservoir.

Step 2: Examine the fluid level and ensure it is higher than the minimum but not too high.

Step 3: Like the oil reservoir, it comes with a graduated dipstick. Remove it and wipe with a clean cloth.

Step 4: Reinsert and bring out the dipstick again. Ascertain that the fluid is up to the appropriate level. If not, top it up to the appropriate level.