Car fluids can be easily degraded by high temperatures during summer, resulting in your car breaking down or your car needing significant repairs. You can avoid such issues by taking note of summer driving fluid check essentials. Check your coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid and windshield wiper fluid. Make sure to do regular oil and oil filter changes and check the fluid level as well. You will want to avoid issues that can leave you stranded many miles away during a summer vacation.
What are the 6 essential fluids in a car?
We have already mentioned the fluids in your vehicle included in the summer driving fluid check essentials list and we have here the list of the 6 essential fluids that will need to be routinely checked not only during the summer season but all year long:
- Engine oil
Underneath the hood, where engine components spin thousands of times each minute, oil plays a key function in keeping the engine parts lubricated and moving in sync. Your oil is one of the most critical fluids in your car. Your engine can suffer catastrophic harm if you drive with no (or low) oil. That's why it's crucial to have your car's oil changed every 3,000 miles (5,000 for synthetic oil) or change according to your vehicle owner’s manual.
During very warm seasons, the engine or motor oil will need to be checked more often because the heat can quickly degrade your oil. Check at least once a month or have your trusted mechanic check and fill off your other fluids as needed as well.
Coolant, often known as antifreeze or radiator fluid, protects aluminum engine components and prevents overheating and freezing. It keeps the engine cool during the hot summer months and stops it from freezing in the winter. The coolant also prevents froth, corrosion, and deposits. Antifreeze degrades with time and should be tested after 50,000 miles in modern vehicles.
Even if the cooling system appears to be functioning, check for acidity, freezing and boiling protection, as well as rust and leaks. One of the most crucial fluids to check in a car is the coolant. A 50–50 mixture of coolant and water makes up the fluid, which you may validate using an antifreeze tester. Check the level and condition of the coolant in the reservoir. Replace it if it's foggy or rusted. Otherwise, fill it to the reservoir's indicated level.
- Transmission fluid
One of the most crucial fluids to check in a vehicle included in the summer driving fluid check essentials is the transmission fluid that cools and lubricates gears, clutches, and valves, as well as other transmission components. When it's low, it might make shifting difficult and produce uncontrollable surges.
Many gearboxes are sold with a “lifetime” fluid that never needs to be replenished, according to popular belief. In reality, there is no such thing as a lifetime fluid, and your transmission fluid will need to be replaced eventually – usually after 100,000 miles on newer cars. It's still a good idea to check your transmission fluid on a regular basis.
Once you observe transmission problems best to check the fluid first. Some cars feature a dipstick, but others require the assistance of a professional mechanic to check the fluid level. If your automobile has a dipstick, follow the same steps as above, but make sure the engine is running and the transmission is in Park or Neutral to get a correct reading. Examine the fluid level as well as the condition of the fluid. It should have an amber or crimson tint and a silky texture. If it's dark, cloudy, or gritty, it's a sign that there's an issue that needs to be looked into, just like with other fluids.
Pour transmission fluid into the fill tube if it has one and move the gear selector through the ratios with your foot on the brake after checking the fluid level on the dipstick to help the new fluid flow through the transmission. Transmissions are complicated pieces of machinery, so if you're still having issues, it's best to seek professional help.
- Brake Fluid
Verify the right level of braking fluid in the reservoir. Don't add fluid, unlike coolant, because a drop in fluid usually corresponds to pad wear. However, it could also indicate a leak in your brake system, which your expert should check.
The brake plunger within the master cylinder is activated when you step on the brake pedal. The brake fluid is pushed out of its reservoir inside the brake lines by the pressure, causing the brake pads to slow your car. Your brake fluid level will normally decrease as your brake pads wear. Add some fluid and have your brakes checked if it goes below the minimal indicator.
- Power Steering Fluid
You must first heat your power steering fluid in order to perform a proper analysis. Simply start your car and let it idle until the temperature gauge returns to normal. Turn your steering wheel all the way in one direction until it locks. Reverse the process. After a few repetitions, your fluid should be sufficiently heated to allow for proper examination.
When it comes to your power steering fluid, there are two main things to look for. You must first determine the level. You should be able to see the MIN and MAX lines whether you can look through your reservoir or need to use a dipstick. You won't need to add any more fluid if the level is between these lines. If it's less than the minimum, you'll need to add more fluid without going over the MAX line. When the fluid is used, it expands, necessitating the additional space.
The fluid quality is the second item you should look at. Take a look at the color to see what I'm talking about. Power steering fluid that is in good condition will be transparent with an amber or pinkish tint. If your fluid appears to be more brown or black in color, it has been contaminated by rubber. This is frequently caused by neighboring hoses and seals. If your fluid is too dirty, you'll have to flush it and replace it.
- Washer or Wiper Fluid
Last but not the least on your summer driving fluid essential check essentials is the washer or wiper fluid. Although your vehicle won't break down if you run out of washer or wiper fluid, it might create visibility issues which can affect safety. It's inexpensive to buy jugs of it at petrol stations or auto supply stores (or manufacture your own). Simply pour the fluid into the reservoir until it is completely full, close the cap, and go. So fill up the washer fluid and examine the wiper blades while you're at it. Weather and time wear down the blades, causing them to smear or scrape your windshield.
Other Summer Vehicle Checks
Aside from keeping up with summer driving fluid check essentials, there are a few more maintenance items to take care of, particularly before your next big summer trip. Here are the following checks you must do:
- Check Your Batteries
To begin, check your batteries. The majority of car batteries are “maintenance free,” which means you won't be able to monitor the water level. The corrosion buildup on the battery terminals is what you should look for. Making a solution of baking soda and water and scrubbing away the buildup with a toothbrush is a simple technique to remove corrosion. A car battery has an average lifespan of three to five years; if yours is nearing the end of its life cycle, replace it.
- Check Tire Pressure
Remember to also check your spare tires and make sure they are in good condition. Rotate as needed, and replace if tread signs are visible. You won't wait until you need to use your spare tire to see if it's in good shape. Look for cracks in the sidewalls and between the tread blocks whenever you inspect the spare tire. If there are only minor cracks that would not catch the edge of a penny, you can use the spare tire and get it fixed thereafter. The tire is not safe to drive on if there are deeper fissures that the edge of a penny goes into or catches on, as the tire's strength is compromised. It's possible that it'll blow out on you.
- Check all your lights
Your automobile, truck, or SUV's lights are quite important. They, like the brakes and steering system, are one of the most important safety features. While a single light, such as a tail light or headlight, will not cause you to lose control of your vehicle, it is still critical in terms of your ability to see where you're going and others' ability to see you. Headlights, turn signals, daytime running lights, fog lamps, and taillights should all be checked. Any burned-out bulbs should be replaced as needed.
- Check belts and hoses
Look for any cracking, fraying, scorching or hardness and replace any parts affected. The most common cause of hose failure is electrochemical deterioration. This occurs when chemicals and heat eat away at the interior of hoses, resulting in pinholes. Rubber hoses and belts are equally vulnerable to engine heat and lubricants. Every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first, inspect your vehicle's belts and hoses. Keep safety in mind at all times. When the car is heated, never open the radiator cap or even the holding tank cap.
Other Commonly Asked Questions:
Here are other commonly asked questions when it comes to summer driving fluid checklist essentials:
What exactly is this pink liquid in my car?
It's likely that the pink fluid pouring from your car is either power steering or transmission fluid. A damaged seal or a hole in the return line are the most common causes of leaks.
What Color Is Engine coolant?
Green coolant is the most common color. However, additional colors are available, including orange, blue, purple, and even yellow and pink. They are not, however, distinct colors for the sake of appearance. Each manufacturer bases their engines on a specific coolant or antifreeze specification with various additives.
What color is coolant when it leaks?
The pale green color of antifreeze or coolant leaks makes them simple to see. The coolant liquid is sticky to the touch and is sometimes pink or bright orange in color. These leaks are fairly prevalent and do not represent a threat to the engine right away.
What are the signs of low coolant?
The symptoms of low coolant vary depending on how low your vehicle's antifreeze level is. Low coolant levels will usually set off your antifreeze light. A “Check Coolant” warning may appear on the dashboard in some automobiles. You may notice some of these abnormalities if your coolant light is turned on.
Why is my car losing coolant but not overheating?
If you know you're leaking antifreeze but aren't experiencing overheating symptoms, or if your car leaks antifreeze when it's parked, then good news is that you still have a chance to get the leak fixed and still be able to save money on repairs. But if you neglect the leak and you keep driving with low antifreeze in your automobile, then it will eventually overheat.
Overheating an engine can lead to extra difficulties, especially if you leave it running for too long and crack the block. If that happens you may experience radiator cap leak, and internal or external coolant leak. So if you delay doing the repairs the more expensive the fix is going to get.
Knowing and doing something about summer driving fluid check essentials will ensure that you'll enjoy and get to relax during your summer vacation instead of facing the hassles of a broken down vehicle – worst – by the side of the road. So better keep up with these suggestions and the maintenance schedule for other important items on the checklist.