Fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle. They are designed to cool the system, minimize friction, lubricate and perform many other jobs. It is important to educate yourself about the various fluids your vehicle needs to function properly.
Brake fluid travels through the braking system when you push the brake pedal. The job of the fluid is to suspend contaminates and build pressure used to stop the vehicle. As brake fluid ages it allows contaminates to settle at the low points in the system, like the calipers and wheel cylinders. This can cause failures in the braking system.
Brake fluid is hydroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. This moisture causes rust in the brake components, specifically the brake lines. Having a brake fluid exchange every three years, or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first, is the best prevention for failures in the system as well as getting the best amount of life from the wearable brake pads, rotors, drums and shoes. Fluid is always cheaper than parts so if you are performing fluid exchanges you will drastically lower your vehicle’s repair budget.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid is designed to create the “power” in power steering. Pressure is generated from the power steering pump pushing pistons mounted to the rack and pinion. This pressure assists in turning the wheels. This system can generate well over 1,000 PSI.
Many newer vehicles have electric steering. For the vehicles that have power steering fluid it is extremely cost effective to service the fluid every 3 years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. The fluid is what lubricates and provides the ability to turn your vehicle.
Differential fluid is vital for lubrication of the internal gears of the differential. Some vehicles don’t have differentials, but any rear wheel drive, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle will have at least one differential. In front wheel drive cars, the differential is typically incorporated into the transmission.
The purpose of the differential is to spin the axles, ultimately spinning the wheels. Without the differential being properly lubricated, itcan lock up. A locked-up differential will not allow the vehicle to move.,
For proper servicing of a differential we recommend the fluid to be exchanged every 3 years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. The differential typically has between 1-3 quarts of fluid.
Transmission fluid lubricates, transmits power from the engine to the transmission, keeps the internal components cool, suspends contaminates and more. This fluid travels throughout a vechile’s most vital components, including the transmission, lines, cooler, torque converter, etc. Over time, the fluid breaks down, not allowing it to cool as well as new fluid. It also becomes contaminated with worn bits of the transmission.
Having the transmission fluid exchanged is vital to its’ longevity. We recommend this service every 30,000 – 60,000 miles. Some manufacturers recommend transmission fluid exchanges every 100,000 miles and some even have lifetime fluid. We have found the lower mileage intervals to be much more cost-effective long term.
Transfer Case Fluid
Transfer case is a special component that is only found on four wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles. The purpose of the transfer case is to transfer power from one axle to another. The fluid keeps the internal gears cool and lubricated.
As the fluid ages it begins to lose its ability to cool the components and suspend contaminates. As the contaminates settle they sit at the low points, which, in the case of the transfer case, are the seals. This causes leaks and much more expensive repairs.
We recommend a transfer case fluid exchange every 30,000 miles.
Coolant, commonly referred to as antifreeze, is a vital fluid for your vehicle’s engine. It keeps the engine cool, lubricates the system and minimizes corrosion. As the coolant loses its strength, the engine will increase in temperature, the coolant will build up with brown sludge, and the engine will have to work considerably harder. The vehicle’s heating system can be negatively affected by sludge, which can clog the heater core. This can be a major problem.
Coolant cycles through engine, radiator, heater core, hoses and other components. As it cycles it is cooled by the radiator. If the coolant is not able to be cooled properly because it has lost its strength, it can cause the vehicle to overheat. The regular maintenance of coolant is extremely important because it affects very expensive components within the vehicle.
We recommend having the coolant system flushed and cleaned every 3-years or 30,000, whichever comes first. The replacement of coolant is time sensitive so if you only drive 5,000 miles a year, for example, it is much cheaper to flush the coolant more often than have major repair expenses. Heater core flushes are normally only necessary because of a lack of regular maintenance on the coolant system.