Fluid Exchanges That Extend Life of Your Vehicle

Like the human body, your vehicle relies on a number of different fluids to keep it functioning properly.

But over time those fluids can break down and require replenishment or replacement.

First, consult your owner’s manual or ask your trusted service advisor what fluid exchanges your vehicle might be due for.

Here are some of the most common vehicle fluids:

Brake Fluid. Stopping a car depends on hydraulics, and brake fluid is literally the system’s lifeblood. Pushing the pedal forces fluid through the lines, causing components to expand against the wheels and stop the vehicle.

How often your brake fluid needs to be replaced depends on a variety of factors, such as your driving habits and environmental factors like heat and humidity. Most vehicles don’t have gauges or sensors that track brake fluid. Have your fluid inspected by a certified auto mechanic.

Transmission fluid. Transmission fluid cools the transmission and provides the connection between the engine and the wheels. Healthy fluid can extend the life of the transmission and maintain proper shift characteristics.

A transmission fluid exchange service replaces nearly all of the fluid in the transmission, which helps the transmission clutches hold tighter and reduces heat.

Radiator fluid/coolant. Like the oil, engine coolant has a service limit. Over time the water in the coolant evaporates, causing the mixture to become imbalanced. Coolant in the radiator must be replenished or replaced routinely to keep the engine operating smoothly.

A coolant flush removes old fluid from the system, along with any debris.

Power steering fluid. The power steering system helps the driver turn the wheel at low speeds. Modern vehicles use wider and heavier tires than those of previous generations, and drivers need a little extra help.

Over time, bits of plastic and rubber inside the system wear down. Power steering fluid collects these contaminants and recycles them through the system. Power steering systems have no filter, so periodically cleaning is particularly important.