You know that changing your car's engine oil is vital to its health and continued performance, but what about the other fluids that flow through your vehicle?
Check out our Bothell, WA, car repair shop's guide to automotive fluid services to learn more about the importance of the various fluids your car relies on to perform its best.
About Your Car's Fluids and What They Do
A few of the fluids that will require top-offs, flushing and replacement over the life of your vehicle include:
- Brake fluid
- Coolant or antifreeze
- Transmission fluid
- Differential fluid
- Power steering fluid
Let's review each of these fluids that are crucial to your car's continued dependable performance.
What Does Brake Fluid Do?
Brake fluid is critical for stopping your car. The brake system is a high-pressure hydraulic system that includes significant enhancements to produce ample force to stop a moving automobile.
When the brake pedal is pressed, the fluid in the brake master cylinder is forced to the pistons in each brake caliper and wheel cylinder.
The purpose is to create greater pressure in the system and drive the fluid ahead, causing the brake pads on the wheel to compress against the rotors.
A car that has little or no brake fluid should not be driven, as the braking system would not function properly without it. The brake fluid should be changed approximately every 30,000 miles, or whenever the brake system is serviced.
To guarantee the complete removal of moisture from the brake system and new fluid that assures optimal hydraulic pressures, have a brake fluid change performed by a professional.
What Does Coolant Do?
Because of the high temperatures under the hood, it's common to see temperatures well over 300 degrees. You'd need something to keep you cool if you had to operate in those conditions—that's what coolant is for.
Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is a heat transfer fluid that keeps an engine's cooling system lubricated and cool (and prevents freezing in the winter). Coolant circulates throughout and around the engine, collecting heat and returning it to the radiator to be dissipated into the air.
The thermal cycling process continuously occurs as the car is driven. Over time, coolant picks up pieces of rust and grime, and its ability to keep the engine at an acceptable temperature deteriorates.
A coolant flush should be performed every 30,000 – 50,000 miles. It's best to have a trained technician conduct your car's coolant flushes.
They can not only remove old coolant safely, but they may also help identify any underlying issues such as leaks or indications of overheating.
When your car's engine overheats, it can cause major damage and result in expensive repair or replacement. Help avoid this situation with regular coolant flushes.
What Does Transmission Fluid Do?
To maintain the efficiency of your transmission and allow it to shift from gear to gear smoothly, transmission fluid is critical.
Transmission fluid is a kind of gear oil that lubricates the moving elements, maintains gaskets and other components in good operating order, and helps to keep the transmission cool.
Most transmission fluids should be replaced every three years or 45,000 miles. But check with your trusted and certified technician to determine transmission fluid change intervals for your particular vehicle.
What Does Differential Fluid Do?
Changing the differential fluid is one of the most neglected vehicle maintenance tasks, yet it should be done every 30,000 - 50,000 miles.
A car's differential distributes power from the transmission to each wheel, taking into account the difference in each wheel's rotation—hence the name.
The differential fluid prevents metal-to-metal contact, which leads to component wear and results in component failure.
What Does Power Steering Fluid Do?
The force required to turn a car's steering wheel is greatly reduced by utilizing a power steering system. Internal steering components should be well-lubricated to guard against failure, which is why a hydraulic pump pressurizes the power steering fluid.
However, with the significant heat generated due to pressure build-up, the fluid begins to degrade. Particles from hoses, seals, and gaskets are deposited into the fluid, resulting in deterioration of the power steering system.
A power steering flush is recommended every 30,000 miles. The DIYer can replace power steering fluid; however, it's usually better to have this job done by a trained auto service technician.
Fluid Services at Our Bothell, WA, Car Repair Shop
Now that you understand the importance of fluid services, isn't it time to schedule a brake fluid change or coolant flush? If you're a Kirkland, WA, area driver, you can rely on Brooks Biddle Automotive for complete auto care, including fluid changes.
Our Bothell car repair shop is home to GM-Certified Technicians who specialize in comprehensive auto maintenance services for Chevrolet and GM vehicles, as well as many other makes of cars, trucks and SUVs.
Don't wait to book your fluid service appointment. Use our convenient online service scheduler or contact our service staff for assistance with your upcoming visit from Seattle, WA, for a coolant flush or fluid change.