Engine oil, power steering fluid, coolant (antifreeze), transmission fluid, brake fluid (if the car has an automated transmission rather than a manual transmission), and windshield washer fluid are the six fluids that should be checked. These checks should be made regularly to maintain proper vehicle functioning and lifetime! Keep track of the time passed with a schedule and watch for unexpected sounds, odors, or vibrations.

I am not sure what the purpose of the fluids in my vehicle is.

Maintaining optimum fluid levels in your vehicle has a significant impact on practically every component in your car. Failure to maintain these levels can affect its fuel ecomony and durability. The engine oil maintains everything lubricated and moving smoothly when the engine components are spinning thousands of times per minute. In the summer, you need to keep the engine cool. In the winter you need to protect it from freezing. Coolant (also known as antifreeze) is essential. A coolant also helps prevent the formation of rust, deposits, and foam, reducing cooling performance. Anyone who has driven a classic car without power steering will attest to the ease with which the vehicle may be handled. The brake fluid links the brake pedal to the brakes – when you step on the brake pedal, a plunger compresses the fluid within the brake lines, causing the brake pads to grip on the rotors and slow the vehicle down as a result. Transmission fluid is responsible for lubricating and cooling transmission components (gears, clutches, and valves). Windshield washer fluid is essential for safe driving since it enables the driver to see properly.

When Should the Fluid Levels Be Checked the Most?

Every 3,000 miles (or 5,000 miles if using synthetic oil) should be scheduled for an oil change, and all other fluids should be checked at the same time, according to industry standards. When you bring your car to Auto Alternative for an oil change, we will perform a routine inspection of all fluids, tire pressure, and other basic maintenance concerns while the vehicle is in the shop. However, if you are checking them at home, make sure your car, truck, or SUV is parked. Make sure you are not parked on a hill, but on level ground and also the engine should be completely cool before starting. When checking the oil with a hot engine, the results are less accurate, and coolant can spray and lead to burns if the engine is hot. When the car is parked, the power steering and brake fluid can be examined, and they should be inspected regularly. To be precise, the transmission fluid must be tested while the car is in the park or neutral and the engine is running. Many transmissions are equipped with “lifetime” fluid that should never have to be replaced; however, monitoring the fluid regularly can assure good transmission operation. Depending on how frequently the driver uses the windshield washer fluid, it should be checked regularly. If you regularly spray your windshield with washer fluid, this would be good to check the level every time you fill up your automobile with gas.

What is the Best Way to Locate and Recognize the Fluids Under the Hood?

First, get the hood of the car burst open and properly propped up.

Engine Oil

If you have a front-wheel-drive car, the engine oil dipstick will be situated near the front of the engine; if you have a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, the engine oil dipstick will be situated behind the engine. Most automobiles feature a cap with an oil graphic or the words “engine oil” or the type of oil stated in the language. Pull the dipstick out of the tank and clean it down with a towel or cloth to start. Replacing the dipstick completely and pulling it out again should be your next step. It should be possible to see oil on the stick if you look closely. The dipstick is marked with markings for the maximum (“full”) and lowest (“add”) levels of the liquid level. The oil must be close to the line/area maximum. Engine oil is yellow/amber in color while it is new, and it turns brown/black when it is time to change the oil. It is recommended that you arrange an appointment with us so that we can look at the engine difficulties in further detail.

Power Steering Fluid

In the engine bay, search for a dipstick or a reservoir cover with the word “power steering” written on it. The process of examining a dipstick for power steering fluid is identical to checking a dipstick for motor oil. Power steering fluid should be white wine/pinkish in appearance.

Brake Fluid

Locate the brake fluid cap, which is normally identifiable by the words brake fluid or something along those lines. Simply removing the reservoir cover and inspecting its contents to determine the level and color of the braking fluid is all that is needed. Dark amber or white wine hue should be visible at the top of the brake fluid reservoir.

Transmission Fluid

Some automobiles are equipped with a dipstick, whereas others require the services of a mechanic. If your vehicle is equipped with a dipstick, checking it is similar to checking engine oil, except that the engine must be running and the gearbox in the park or neutral, based on the manufacturer. It should be a transparent red/amber color to match the surrounding environment.


Locate the radiator cap, which is normally marked with a symbol or the words “engine coolant” or “antifreeze,” and open it to check that the fluid level is full. In accordance with the vehicle’s age and manufacturer, coolant exists in various colors ranging from blue to yellow to green to red to pink to plum. Never mix different types of coolant, and always use the same type of antifreeze that your vehicle’s owner’s handbook prescribes. It is possible to put pure water into the coolant tank in an emergency (such as on a hot summer day) until you can have extra coolant purchased – water will freeze in the winter and does not provide corrosion, deposition, or foam protection like antifreeze does.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Windshield washer fluid is generally blue, green, or orange/red, and it is one of the easiest (and most easily identified) fluids to find beneath the hood. The cap is generally decorated with lettering or a symbol. If the washer fluid level is not at or near the top of the reservoir, pour additional washer fluid into the tank until it is full and close the cover on the reservoir. There are many different brands and types of windshield washer fluid available, but you might want to look for one that contains a Rain-X ingredient for a clearer windshield when driving in the rain.

How Should Fluids Be Added and When Should They Be Changed?

You can count on us to have any fluid you may need for any car type, model, or make. In addition to car supply stores, gas stations, and the automotive department of your local grocery store, fluids can be obtained on the internet. The owner’s manual for your car lists all of the fluid kinds and the required amounts for the individual vehicle. Alternatives to traditional engine oil exist; synthetic engine oil will cost a little more per oil change but will last 5,000 miles instead of 3,000, making the cost per mile almost the same as conventional engine oil. Unless the antifreeze has been developed to be a “lifetime” coolant, it should be replaced every 2-3 years. An Antifreeze Tester will determine the efficiency of the coolant, and if it is low, it should be changed. Pour in distilled water and coolant in a 50-50 ratio when replacing or adding new cooling fluid to the system. You should check the power steering fluid regularly; if it is low, more should be added to ensure steering ease. Immediately replace any brake fluid that seems non-translucent (cloudy or dark) with a type appropriate for your vehicle. Unless there are any exterior leaks, if the brake fluid level falls below the minimum indicator, it could be a sign of mechanical brake failure. It should never be necessary to top off brake fluid because it is a sealed system that should never leak. You vehicle may be equipped with a transmission fill tube, pout the transmission fluid into it as needed. After checking the fluid level with the dipstick, shift through the gears while keeping your foot on the brake to aid fluid flow through the transmission.

What Happens If I Run My Vehicle if I Don’t Have Enough Fluids in it?

Running your car with insufficient or no fluids can be hazardous to you and anybody else on the road with you and your vehicle. Besides that, it might result in expensive maintenance bills, decreased power and fuel economy, and a decline in the value of your car. If you are operating the engine with low or no oil, it is dangerous. A low level of oil on the dipstick could signal that the engine is leaking or burning oil, which can eventually cause damage. An engine with insufficient coolant reduces efficiency and increases the risk of engine overheating. If you permit the power steering reservoir to become depleted, the outcome may be difficult or non-existent steering, resulting in a collision. A low braking fluid level could indicate that water has polluted and rusted the lines, resulting in a leak. Regular braking pressure or the absence of brakes results in difficulty stopping the car, posing a major safety concern to the driver and anybody else on the road nearby! Low transmission fluid levels can cause rough shifting, unusual noises, and uncontrolled surging, making driving difficult. If your windshield becomes dusty, insect splattered or splashed with mud; it might make it difficult to see out of it. This can be quite dangerous. So, to keep your windshield cleaned, be sure to have windshield washer fluid on hand.