Have you ever wondered how your car knows you are low on cash and its the worst possible time to break down on you? It really does seem that cars have mechanical problems when you can least afford to repair them or don't have the time in your busy schedule to get your vehicle into the repair shop.
To take some of the mystery out of your car's mechanical function and get a glimpse into future mechanical failures, you should proactively check its fluids and look for signs of a problem.
Below is a list of your car's fluids that are easily checked and a bit about how they should look to help you determine if the car needs to visit a mechanic soon or not:
Radiator fluid is either green or orange, depending on if your car takes traditional antifreeze or DEX coolant. You should check the fluid both in your radiator and the overflow bottle.
The fluid should be clear and you should not see any rust, metal particles, or other contaminants floating in it. If the fluid is dirty, then it needs to be professionally drained and refilled.
Your car's motor oil is accessible through both the dipstick and the area where you can add more oil into the engine block.
The oil in your engine should be either a clear yellow-tinted liquid or a brown one. The oil should not smell like it has burned and it should not have any metal particles in it.
If the motor oil looks like a chocolate milkshake or smells burned, these are signs of a blown head gasket or other major mechanical problem needing immediate attention.
As with the motor oil, your car's transmission fluid is accessible through both a dipstick and the area used to add more on the transmission itself.
Transmission fluid should be bright cherry red if the transmission is healthy. If you see metal flakes or the fluid is brown with a bit of a burned smell, then this is a tell-tale sign your transmission is aging and will need a rebuild or replacement before too long.
Your car's brake system uses a lubricating fluid. The reservoir is typically located near the driver's side of the car above the wheel.
Brake fluid should be light red in color and if it smells burned or is discolored, then it should be replaced at your local mechanic or brakes shop.
Windshield Washing Fluid
While your car operates fine without windshield washing fluid, it is necessary you have a clean windshield in order to see where you are going.
When checking the other fluids, make sure you top off the windshield fluid. Finally, if you notice it is empty very often, then have your mechanic check it for leaks next time it is in the shop.Share
26 September 2018
After my car died and I was stranded on the freeway a few years back, I knew that I had to do what I could to avoid similar issues in the future. I began working hard to identify different issues with my car, so that I could prevent problems. I began working with a mechanic to get help, and he taught me a lot about going through my car and being able to evaluate different things that were problems. It was really interesting to explore the possibilities of different car failures, and before I knew it, I could tell when my car was struggling. Read more about the early signs of car trouble on my blog.