Car fluids

Vehicle fluids help – useful tricks and hacks

Essential Car Fluids – automotive fluids review to help you make the right decision


To timely check all fluids in a car and their replacement is a key condition for the smooth operation of the car. Let’s see what, when and why it should be changed. First of all, let’s figure out how many types of fluids in a car must be replaced regularly.


What types of fluids are worth checking in a car?

Cars use five main types of fluids, which must be periodically changed or refilled:

  • -hydraulic fluids such as brake fluid, power steering wheel fluid, clutch fluid and transmission fluid;
  • -lubricants among which engine oil, gear oil, ATF oil differential oil;
  • -coolant fluids;
  • -fuels;
  • -washing fluids.

Let’s consider all essential fluids.


Why and when automotive fluids should be changed

All major types of car maintenance fluids are listed below.


Brake Fluid 

Brake fluid must be changed every two years. The effectiveness of the anti-lock braking system (ABS), the electronic stability program (ESP), the electronic differential lock simulator, etc. depends on its condition in a modern car.

You can be sure of safety with a stability control system on a winter road only if the brake system contains high-quality brake fluid. The fact is that any brake fluid has increased hygroscopicity, i.e. easily absorbs moisture. After a two-year period, its properties may noticeably deteriorate. If the boiling point decreases by 140-180 degrees Fahrenheit it leads to forming air bubbles. When they are compressed they do not transmit braking force, i.e. the brakes fail. Corrosion of caliper parts and active safety system modules is also possible. 

In winter, in severe frosts, a change in viscosity is observed, which can disrupt the operation of the ABS, ESP modules, etc. Just imagine that the stabilization system will refuse to work at the most extreme moment!   In order to avoid this, it is necessary to exclude such situations in advance by adding fresh brake fluid to the system.

Power steering wheel fluid

It is necessary to change the fluid in the power steering wheel due to the presence of dangerous wear products in it. These products do not only perform the function of an abrasive but also are a source of deposits. They can disrupt the operation of valve mechanisms and other system components. 

To remain without a working power steering in winter or with a wedging steering wheel during sharp maneuvers is inconvenient and extremely dangerous! To avoid this, you need to find out the interval of replacing the fluid in the power steering (if any) for your car. The recommended interval of this procedure is on average every 50 thousand miles. Also, a burning smell coming from the tank can be a signal that it is time to replace the fluid.


Engine oil

Engine oil needs to be changed for a very simple reason: to prevent premature engine failure and provide it with the longest possible life.

Checking oil and water in the engine should be done once per month. At the same time, changing fluids in a car depends on a number of parameters:

  • -car manufacturer;
  • -driving manners;
  • -climatic conditions of vehicle operation;
  • -year of manufacture of the vehicle etc.

To know exactly how often to change the oil we should refer to the car manual (or service book) where the manufacturer recommends oil change intervals. With a good engine, engine oil usually has a translucent brown tint. But if the color is black or dark brown, it means that the engine is out of order and cannot fully cope with its functions.


ATF oil

Transmission fluid acts as a lubricant for all moving parts in the gearbox. In the automatic gearbox, the transmission fluid also serves as a coolant and viscous fluid to transfer power from the engine to the transmission.

If you do not replace the transmission fluid in time, then your gearbox will be lubricated with metal chips and dirt. This, in turn, will shorten the life of the gearbox.


Coolant fluid or antifreeze

Coolant, which is also known as antifreeze, protects the car engine against overheating. If the coolant level is below recommended, then most likely the automobile will overheat.

Car cooling fluids requiring regular replacement include AC coolant. It is responsible for the health of the car’s air conditioning system. The air conditioning system will not work if there is not enough coolant in it. The air conditioner will overheat, resulting in damage to the compressor. According to experts, the necessary amount of freon needs to be replenished at least once a year, and if the car is new, after three years.



As for fuel, regardless of whether the driver drives on a gasoline or diesel car, the fueling rule is the same for everyone. It does not matter if you drive with a flashing light remaining fuel, gasoline, diesel or CNG must be in the reservoir.


Washing fluids

Every driver knows what dirt and stains on the windshield are. For a safe ride, we need a good vision of the road. In order to keep the windows clean, ordinary water is enough in summer only, in winter such a liquid can cause washer fluid system breakdown. Therefore, in the cold season, the washer fluid reservoir must contain non-freezing fluid. This will ensure the washer is working in cold weather and will prevent damage to the pump of the washer fluid system.


What happens if the rules are ignored?

Summarizing all of the above, we can conclude – operating fluids are a very important element of every vehicle. The direct life of the car and the safety of the driver depend to a large extent on them. Remember to check and replace all automotive fluids during routine vehicle inspections.