Importance of Fluid Checks – 5 Key Fluids

Looking under the hood and checking your fluids seems to be an easy enough task. But, there is a risk of serious injury if not performed properly. The following five key fluids should be checked before you depart on any trip:

Brake Fluid

Excess weight from passengers and luggage combined with summer heat puts stress on your brakes, increasing risk of mechanical failure. To guard against this unnecessary risk you should have your brake fluid checked. A quick free chemical analysis from your local Tire Discounters can identify a potential problem.

Over time, your brake fluid absorbs moisture. Moisture leads to the chemical breakdown of your brake fluid and reduces the boiling point of the brake fluid. Overheating brakes combined with a lower brake fluid boiling point can lead to sudden brake failure due to loss of hydraulic pressure in the system.

Many vehicle manufacturers recommend brake fluid exchange service at regular intervals to maintain vehicle performance. Consult your owner’s manual for specific manufacturer recommendations.

Tire Discounters ASE certified mechanics can check the level of moisture for free. This is done by chemically measuring the content of Copper from the corrosion created by the moisture in the fluid. The last thing you want is brake failure while traveling down the interstate at a high rate of speed.

Coolant Fluid

Oil is considered the lifeblood of your car’s engine, antifreeze mixed with water expel heat from the engine and allow it to run smoothly. Antifreeze acts as an agent to raise the boiling point and lower the freezing point of the water used to cool the engine. Without antifreeze, the heat created through constant internal combustion would destroy the engine very quickly.

The most common cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. Deposit buildup can block the flow of antifreeze to your engine, leading to overheating and an inconvenient breakdown. If by chance you have a breakdown, do not reach down into the engine and try and check fluid levels when the engine is hot. The excessive heat and pressure in the engine will create an eruption of scalding hot coolant and chances are you will get severely burned.

Caution must always be used when handling antifreeze as it is one of the most dangerous fluids in your garage. It contains a sweet, syrupy fluid called ethylene glycol, which comes in green, pink or yellow color, and although it looks harmless, it can be deadly. As little as one tablespoon ingested can kill a human or pet.

Just like a human, your vehicle performs best when all systems are at optimal performance. Let the experts make sure your coolant fluid is in good condition by stopping by a local Tire Discounters before your trip for a Free Fluid Conditional Analysis using professional chemical test strips to ensure accuracy and safety.

Power Steering Fluid

While your power steering system doesn’t require frequent attention, it can create problems for you over time. Pressure and excessive heat can lead to buildup in old fluid that can cause stiff steering, squealing, fluid leaks and eventual component failure.

Many vehicle manufacturers recommend fluid exchange at regular intervals to maintain vehicle performance. Industry experts suggest you should change your steering fluid every two years or 24,000 miles. Consult your owner’s manual for specific manufacturer recommendations. Since you already are planning to have your vehicle looked over simply have your Tire Discounters mechanic check your power steering for smooth operation.

Transmission Fluid

Similar to the other vital automotive fluids, transmission fluid deteriorates over time. Frequent stop and go driving, hauling heavy loads, pulling a trailer will accelerate deterioration. Again, the extra weight and excessive heat increases the workload putting all systems under high-stress conditions, including the transmission.

Chances are you have never had your transmission fluid checked so it is possible that buildup of deposits in the fluid could cause debris resulting in overheating, delayed shifting and transmission failure.

Many vehicle manufacturers recommend fluid exchange at regular intervals to maintain vehicle performance. It is very important that you read your owner’s manual. Your vehicle may have specific fluids and procedures for your specific vehicle brand.

Better safe than sorry, add a transmission fluid check when you schedule your vehicle at your local Tire Discounters.

Windshield Washer Fluid

It becomes the most important safety feature to your vehicle when mother nature whips up some inclement weather. A summer rainstorm, a plethora of bugs and a splash of mud, all make windshield wiper fluid extremely important. If you can’t see, you’re an accident waiting to happen.

While having your windshield washer fluid check, you might as well have the entire system checked. Those wiper blades may have dried out and cracked or a spray line could be clogged with debris.

You might want to skip this step and simply fill your washer fluid tank with plain water. Bad idea. Water freezes in cold weather, develops bacteria over the course of a hot summer which can lead to failure.

Since visibility is part of safe driving, have the ASE certified mechanics at Tire Discounters check your windshield washer system. It is an easy and affordable way to ensure your safety while driving in all sorts of weather.