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Car Fluid Maintenance- from Oil-Checking to Antifreeze

with showard

Auto expert Barbara Terry demonstrates how to check your car's fluids

Transcript: Car Fluid Maintenance- from Oil-Checking to Antifreeze

Hi. I'm Barbara Terry for About.com Autos.

Today we are going to be under the hood of your car. Maintaining proper fluid levels is a necessity to keep your car's health up to par. The fluids we will learn about are:
  1. Oil
  2. Transmission fluid
  3. Brake fluid
  4. Power steering fluid
  5. Radiator
  6. Coolant
  7. Windshield wiper fluid
  8. Water for your battery
  9. Clutch oil

Before Checking your Car Fluids:

First of all, always make sure that your car has been turned off for at least an hour before you start messing around under the hood so you do not burn yourself.

Although these fluids represent a variety of uses within your car, checking each one of them is very similar.

Checking your Oil

To check the oil, start by pulling out the dipstick, wiping it off, sticking it back in and then when you pull it out you will want the oil level to be towards the top of the crosshatches... the little railroad track looking design. If the level is low, just add a half a quart at a time and recheck it until the right level has been achieved. The color of the oil should be a honey brown color. It is extremely important to maintain regular oil changes every 3-thousand miles.

Transmission Fluid

The same with the transmission fluidů. follow the same technique of steps as you did with the oil and add fluid if needed to achieve the proper level. The transmission fluid should have a rich red color to its tone and should be smooth.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is very simple to check, typically the reservoir is see-through/clear, and if the level is low you will want to add brake fluid until you reach a good level.

Power Steering

Power steering fluid should be checked, especially if you hear your power steering whining when you make turns, you also may need a new power steering pump if the whining persists.

Engine Coolant

Adding the right mixture to your coolant system is important especially in the winter. You should have a mixture of half antifreeze and half water. You can check the level by looking at the overflow. If you want to check the level of the radiator and the color of the radiator fluid make sure your car has been turned of for a couple of hours before unscrewing the radiator cap. The fluid should be a nice green lime color.

Windshield Wiper Fluid

Windshield wiper fluid is important to the safety of your driving by being able to see clearly out of your windshield. You can see if the level is low by looking into the reservoir, so just top it off with new fluid.

Car Batteries

Some batteries require water and some do not, I am demonstrating on one that does today, again, before working on your car make sure that the motor has been turned off so that it is cool before tinkering around under the hood. To add water to the battery is as simple as popping off the cover and topping the battery off.

Fluid Maintenance Timing

Clutch fluid is required to help maintain a long life for your clutch; if you have an automatic car you do not have a clutch or the responsibility in adding clutch fluid to your car. To check the level, then add fluid until it is topped off.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at Autos.About.com.

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