Most of us think ‘fuel’ when we think of fluids that cars simply can’t be without – but the reality is that there are others that are just as crucial for efficient functioning and maintenance:
- Engine oil is the lifeblood of a car’s engine, lubricating moving parts, reducing friction, and regulating temperature – it’s essential for the overall efficiency of the car. If levels of engine oil fall excessively, the car is at risk of abnormal wear and tear; meanwhile, if it is not changed regularly, friction builds up between moving parts, leading to heat and pressure. Dirty oil also prevents controls from performing their core functions. It’s therefore vital to check engine oil regularly when the engine is cold.
- Gearbox oil is another fluid required for lubrication. This time, it’s the gearbox that benefits, as the oil ensures that gears can change easily and transmission runs smoothly – without it, you’re set for teeth grinding on gears and metal-to-metal contact, which is likely to lead to permanent damage.
- Antifreeze, as its name suggests, is responsible for ensuring that the water in the radiator and engine doesn’t freeze when it gets cold. However, it also prevents these fluids from boiling in hot temperatures. It, too, helps with lubrication between moving parts, which is why it’s important to use the antifreeze recommended for your vehicle and at the correct ratio to water.
- Brake fluid plays a role in vehicle safety: a drop in levels means that the brake pads have worn out and need to be replaced. Again, it’s important to use the brake fluid recommended for your make of vehicle.
- Power steering fluid: this fluid doesn’t merely ensure that your steering wheel remains flexible; it also creates a hydraulic link between the steering wheel and the front wheels, so that it is easier to turn corners. Without it, driving becomes difficult and parts of the steering system may give way to wear and tear.