You know that the engine oil in your vehicle needs to be changed regularly. But did you know that there are other fluids that need to be checked and changed at regular intervals? These other fluids are in your cooling system, power steering system, automatic transmission, and brake system. They are all products which go through temperature changes, have additive packages in them, and are petroleum-based just like your engine oil. Each fluid requires attention:
1. Your engine coolant turns acidic as it ages. When this happens, it will cause damage to the engine and cooling system components. Coolant in good condition will be within the neutral range of the pH scale. A thorough service center will check coolant pH and recommend coolant changes when needed BEFORE damage occurs.
2. Brake system fluid collects both moisture from the environment and wear metal from the brake system itself. These contaminants cause damage and premature wear to the brake system components, so the fluid contaminate level should be checked at service intervals and changed as needed. Modern day vehicles can have brake system components costing as much as $3,000 to replace, so changing the fluid can save big money in repairs!
3. Your power steering system fluid breaks down over a period of time and picks up wear particles from the system hoses. Worn out fluid causes premature wear in the system’s pump and steering rack. The hose debris will block the system’s small passageways. Changing this fluid when needed can also save thousands of dollars in repair costs.
4. Automatic transmission fluid works especially hard in doing its job of connecting the engine to the drive train. It both lubricates and serves as a coupling agent in the transmission, and goes through a wide range of temperature changes every time the vehicle is driven. When this fluid breaks down, the result is premature wear of components inside the transmission. Transmission replacement or rebuilding can cost $3,000 and more, so change that fluid!
All the above fluids require monitoring and changing, and replacement must be done in its entirety. What is known as a “drain and refill” only replaces, on average, about 20% of the old fluid, as the fluid is present throughout the vehicle systems, not just in the fluid receptacle. Special equipment is needed to insure a 100% fluid change, so don’t hesitate to ask if your service center has invested in such equipment and will perform the correct service for you.
Your vehicle’s fluids are its lifeblood. Prolong your vehicle’s life and help avoid big repair bills by keeping those fluids healthy.
Dean’s Automotive, Inc.
Mountain View, CA 94040