Your car needs fluids to keep it running for the same reason your mother asks you to water her plants while she’s out of town. However, don’t think of this simple maintenance as a chore but a quick and easy way of extending the life of your car.
A good rule of thumb is to check your engine’s oil whenever you fill up at the gas station. While your car is refueling, pop the hood and give it a few minutes as you squeegee the windows. Remove the dipstick from the engine and wipe it clean. Reinsert the dipstick slowly and remove again to see whether the fluid level falls between two hash marks on the stick. If it’s too low, you may need to add a quart.
When you’re done refueling, start up your engine and check the automatic transmission fluid levels. Make sure you have no loose clothing or jewelry that could potentially get caught in a moving part. You’ll follow the same procedure for cleaning and reinserting the transmission dipstick, and checking the hash marks. Manual transmission is generally checked under the car, with the engine off.
Your owner’s manual can help you find the brake fluid reservoir. Remove the lid and see if it is at least two-thirds full. Add more if it’s below the fill line. Make sure water is not able to enter the braking system; perform this task under an overhang or in your garage.
You need to check your radiator fluid level while your engine is cool; radiator fluid is under pressure and scalding hot from when your engine has been running. After your car has sufficiently rested, remove the radiator cap and look for fluid. If you see it near the top, the system is fine. If not, add more.
Lastly, if you note that any of your fluids repeatedly get low, you may have a leak. This is especially serious where your brakes are concerned. Check under your car after it has been idle in your garage or driveway. Note any puddles that may be forming and check the coloration to determine which fluid may be leaking. Consult a technician at Windsor Nissan for any repairs.
Checking your car’s fluids should be a weekly maintenance routine. This kind of observation and prevention could extend the life of your car. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for your mother’s plants.