Fluid engine oil level check 

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of fluids and cars is fuel or petrol.  Fuel happens to be the most commonly check fluid as there is a gauge that warns you when the level is low.  Other fluids are just as important and need our attention even though they do not deplete as fast as fuel.  Failure to check these fluids could have an adverse effect on the car, and in some cases, your life.  So, other fluids that deserve your attention include:


  • Brake fluid
  • Engine oil
  • Engine coolant
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Windshield wiper fluid


If these fluids are so vital to your car’s running, how do you ensure that your car has enough of these fluids at all times? The next section tells you more about it.


Checking various car fluids


Checking for fluid levels is always done when the car's engine is switched off and the engine has cooled down. The only exception is the transmission fluid, which needs to be checked when the car is running.


  • Brake fluid – This fluid circulates in a closed system within the car, which means there is less likelihood of it leaking out and going low. The fluid sits in a translucent container, so it is easy to check the level. You should keep checking the brake fluid to ensure it is a golden brown. If it is aged and brown, it needs to be replaced.


  • Engine oil – In most modern cars, it is sufficient to check oil levels once a month. To check the engine oil level, pop the bonnet of your car open and find the oil dipstick. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean and dip it again. When you take it out, you will know the level of oil.


  • Engine coolant – To check this level, find the radiator and you can simply open the radiator cap to check the level of coolant. The radiator has a level indicator, so make sure the coolant is up to the prescribed levels at least twice a year.


  • Transmission fluid – This fluid circulates in a closed system within your car, which means that there are fewer chances of it leaking out and going low. However, more than the level, it is important to check if the fluid is of the right color every month and to ensure it does not smell burned.


  • Power steering fluid – It sits in a reservoir under the hood and can be visually checked to ensure that it is up to the recommended levels. You need to check levels once a month or when the steering gets too tight or creaky.


  • Windshield wiper fluid – It sits in a reservoir under the hood and can be visually checked as well.  For improved windshield visibility, check the levels once per month.


It is important to check these fluids regularly and to refill them or replace them when required. Check your owner's manual for the recommended interval for changing the fluids per the car manufacturer.  If you are unsure on how to go about checking or refilling, it is best to take the car to your mechanic. Replacing should ideally be done only by the mechanic, since the fluids need to be flushed out well before replacing. Talk to your mechanic to know how often you need to check on various fluids for your car based on your usage and the kind of climatic conditions you live in.