Car Fluids

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Car Fluids: How Often and Why You Should Have Them Flushed (Not down the Drain)

Neglect changing the fluids in your car and you will eventually ruin your vehicle. Your car fluids are vital for keeping everything lubricated and running smooth.

You have probably invested a lot in buying your car. It doesn't make sense to let your car become a junk pile simply because you decided to neglect some fluids.

It's also expensive to replace the systems in your engine. So the best thing you can do is replace the fluids and keep everything running. Let's get started talking fluids.

Oil

This is the one fluid in your vehicle that everyone knows to have changed. There is much debate over how often to have the oil changed though.

The best thing to do is to have the oil changed every three months or three thousand miles if you have an older car. Newer cars today can go 5,000 to 10,000 miles before needing an oil change.

Keeping your oil clean helps keep your engine well lubricated and free of debris and contaminants. Just be sure to also have the oil filter changed when you change the oil. You need a clean filter to ensure a good flow of the oil and effective cleaning abilities.

Transmission

About every 35,000 miles you will need to flush the transmission. You should check your vehicle's owner's manual for the recommended time.

Keep in mind that flushing your transmission frequently can actually harm your vehicle. This means you shouldn't automatically agree to this flush every time you get your oil changed.

Another thing to keep in mind. You should make sure that the filter gets changed every time you change the fluid.

Radiator

Is your vehicle older than 2011? If so then you need to flush your radiator every two years. If your car is newer than 2011 then you'll have an orange colored radiator fluid. These newer cars can go a lot longer without a flush.

You may hear this fluid referred to as coolant or antifreeze. This is because this fluid prevents your engine from overheating. It flows through the radiator, water hoses, internal engine, and water pump.

When this fluid is too low or too dirty it can't perform its job well. Now your engine is going to overheat and cause damage.

Keep in mind that draining the fluid and pouring in new is not the same thing as flushing your system. If all you do is drain and pour in new then you aren't really cleaning the whole system.

Make sure that whoever you have perform the flush does a complete job. Otherwise, you are wasting your money immediately making your new fluid dirty by pouring it into dirty lines.

Brake Fluid

The brake fluid in your vehicle works under high pressure to be able to apply the brakes in your vehicle. You push down on the brake pedal which moves the piston in the brake caliper.

This creates pressure in the lines. The pressure moves the fluid in the line which results in the brake rotor pressing down on the brake pad.

You will be hard pressed to find a recommended change interval rate from the auto manufacturer. Over time water enters the brake line system. This water increases the rate of corrosion. 

Changing out the brake fluid reduces the amount of water in the system. Changing this fluid also requires you to open all of the bleeder screws. By doing this you reduce the risk of seizing which will require replacing your calipers.

Power Steering

For years people used to drive without power steering, and it was a lot harder. Your power steering system relies on fluid to allow everything to move responsively.

Your vehicle manufacturer considers this fluid to last the lifetime of your car. So it is another fluid with no recommended replacement timeline.

If you do decide to buy an aftermarket flush make sure it comes with a warranty. Repairing steering fluid leaks can be an expensive bill.

Fuel Injection

While vehicle manufacturers don't provide guidance on flushing or servicing your fuel injectors, there are plenty of aftermarket suppliers out there. However, carbon tends to build upon the engine valves.

This buildup happens for two reasons. The first is poor fuel quality. The second is low-speed driving and a lot of starting and stopping. We all recognize this as driving in rush hour traffic.

When a qualified professional performs a system cleaning treatment it reduces the carbon buildup. When you remove the buildup your engine will run more efficiently and just plain perform better.

Many quick lube type places will claim that you need to flush your engine every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. This is not true. Many modern engines can go 35,000 before needing a flush.

Rear Differential

Do you have a rear wheel drive vehicle? If so then you are probably overlooking a rear differential flush. This is a separate lubrication system that keeps the parts back here running smooth. 

This fluid should get flushed out every 30,000 miles to 35,000 miles. You shouldn't go more than 50,000 miles without changing this fluid though.

Change Your Car Fluids

Who knew there were so many different car fluids flowing through your car to keep it running. The important thing to know is which ones you need to monitor and change, and which ones you can forget about.

If you struggle to keep up with maintenance for your car fluids, the best thing you can do is create a relationship with a reputable repair and maintenance shop. They can let you know when it's time to flush your system.

Keep your car running great by scheduling your fluid's maintenance today.