Fleet Maintenance Specialists - 24/7 Truck Breakdown Service

The Importance of Maintaining Fluids in Your Vehicle

Recently I ran out of petrol in my car and noticed that even once I had filled my car up with petrol again it didn’t run the same until I brought it in to Osborne Automotive Repairs for a minor service. Why is running out of fuel so bad for my vehicle?

In today’s vehicles you may not be able to start it again, even once the fuel is topped up. With diesels you can get air lock in the system. Also running it right out of fuel, sucks up all the grit from the bottom of your fuel tank which can block your fuel lines, damage injectors, injector pumps and cause further problems. There isn’t a tank I’ve looked in over the years that doesn’t have at least a cup full of sludge, grit and grime in the bottom of it.

What is the importance of other fluids in my vehicle? Like coolant?

Say for example you went to the snow and you didn’t have any coolant or form of anti-freeze in your radiator the water in your radiator would freeze. When you come back from your ski run and start your vehicle up the fins on the water pump would at best be damaged/ bent or broken off. Therefore your water pump would severely fail and probably get half way home and the water pump would stop pumping water throughout your engine and your engine would over heat.

Why is it called coolant if it has anti-freeze properties?

Coolant is the common name, however the correct name is anti-freeze, anti-boil, corrosion inhibitor. Another important role this fluid plays is that on the other side of the scale is raises the boiling point of water by 8-10oC depending on percentage of coolant/ water ratio in your radiator. The other vital role that coolant plays in your cooling system is the anti-corrosion inhibiter stops cast iron blocks from rusting, stops aluminium blocks and heads from corrosion and stops rusty water travelling all throughout which could corrode your entire cooling system. It also has a lubricant to help lubricate water pump seals.

Is power steering fluid the same as transmission fluid?

In some cases, however there are more and more new vehicles coming out which have different types of fluids for each. They have different properties so you need to check with your vehicle manufacturer as to what they recommend.

Are transmission fluids all the same?

No, as with engine oils, 10 years ago all cars ran the same transmission fluid ATF Dextron 2 now most cars run at least ATF Dextron 3 but that doesn’t cover all vehicles, some nowadays run engine oil in their automatic transmission and lots of other variances of automatic transmission fluid. Check with your vehicle manufacturer.

What other fluids are important in vehicles?

Brake fluid is important, over time it develops moisture in the braking system, especially if you have a cracked or non-sealing master cylinder cap. Moisture in brake fluid greatly reduces its ability to perform at its optimum levels. Not only does moisture in the brake system create rust in your brake lines, cylinders, master cylinder, it also reduces the efficiency of your brake system greatly. Moisture in the brake system can boil, as with coolant brake fluid has a much higher boiling temperature than water. If it was to boil you would get brake fade/ and or brake failure.

What about water?

There is water in your washer bottle and sometimes distilled water in your battery. Water is in your battery to cover up the lead cells and to keep them cool and so that the lead particles don’t break away from the plates. And of course there is water in your radiator mixed with coolant.

Is clutch fluid the same as brake fluid?

Yes in most systems, most new braking systems today are dot 4, in the past they were lower. You can get away with putting a lower performing dot 3 brake fluid in your clutch, but not the other way round. Mainly because of the temperatures associated with the braking system, which is not found in the clutch system.

What sort of engine oil should I put in my car?

Seems to me that every year there is a new vehicle that comes out which takes a new oil, there are so many variance of engine oils, mineral, semi synthetic, fully synthetic, etc, plus different weights 5W to 30W. We currently stock 10 different types of engine oil and it really depends what the manufacturer recommends you use in your vehicle.


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