Maintaining your car and keeping it running like new is quite easy and you dont need to be a mechanic to do so.
Keeping your 5 fluids topped up is one of the very basic things that all drivers should do to ensure they dont break down.
So what are the 5 fluids I hear you ask?
1. Engine oil
This protects all the internal parts of the engine and keeps your engine sounding smooth. Use the dipstick to check the oil level. Park on a flat service. Ensure engine is cooled by approx 20 mins. Pull the dip stick….wipe…..re dip…and check that the oil level is between the 2 marks on the dipstick. Look also for condition of the oil. If its black and watery it must be changed. Your oil should look golden brown and should stick to the dip stick. If the oil level is low…top it up via the oil filler cap on top of the engine with the correct grade of oil. This grade will be given on your cars handbook. Most petrol stations will sell small bottles of oil for topping up.
2. Brake Fluid
This is critical. When you squeeze your footbrake hydraulic oil is pushed into the brake calipers giving you braking ability. If you dont keep this topped up or get it changed your brakes will fail and you could end up in a serious accident. On most vehicles there is a resevoir marked with “brake fluid” or a brake symbol. Just make sure its topped up to maximum mark with the correct brake fluid found at most petrol stations.
3. Power steering fluid.
This gives you assistance in turning the steering wheel. Some cars have electric motors to assist so check your handbook before panicking. Much like your brake fluid…you will have a resevoir marked with “power steering” or a steering wheel symbol. Again…keep it topped up to the maximum mark with power steering fluid found at some petrol stations but if not try a motor factors near you.
This is to stop your engine freezing in cold weather and also keeps your engine from over heating.
The coolant circulates around your engine and absorbs heat then is pumped to the radiator at very front of your car to be cooled by air as your driving forwards.
Your coolant is a mixture of antifreeze and water.
Be careful with the antifreeze as it is corrosive and can burn your skin.
Make sure that the engine is cool before opening the cap as it will be boiling.
Just top up on a regular basis with cold tap water upto the maximum mark.
If you dont …your engine will overheat….crack and then its a gonna…and it aint cheap to replace an engine. Tap water in most cases is free.
Needless to say…if you cannot see out your windows you are likely to have an accident.
Keep your screenwash topped up with water and a screenwash additive to use while driving.
Water and screenwash additive are available at most petrol stations.
My 2006 Ford Fiesta driving school cork school car…..the 5 fluids all have yellow markings so theyre easy to find.
Have a look at your own engine bay and remember you dont need to be a mechanic to keep your car maintained
Future posts will include info on tyres and electrics