Most modern cars these days have plastic covers under the hood that make it difficult for car owners to tinker with their engines. However, under-bonnet care is still essential, particularly for those driving Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars.
Here are five fluids that you should regularly check to ensure your car stays in top condition:
Checking your car's oil level is as crucial as checking your tyre pressures because running your car when it's low on oil can lead to serious damage.
To check the oil level, refer to your car handbook to know if the carmaker requires you to check it cold or warm, then locate the dipstick, which has a brightly colored handle, and is usually attached to the engine.
Pull it out, wipe it with a paper towel, and dip it again to check the level. The stick is clearly marked with upper and lower levels, and you can tell quickly whether you're in a safe zone. Additionally, this is an excellent chance to check the condition of the oil. If it's up to the level but dirty, it might be time for an oil change.
The coolant reservoir is typically located at the front of the engine bay, away from the engine's heat. It's easy to spot because it's a clear plastic bottle with a clearly marked coolant level, so you can check it from the outside.
However, it's crucial to only ever unscrew the coolant lid when the engine is cold to prevent a high-pressure, boiling hot fluid eruption towards you. Even when the car is slightly warm, you'll still detect a subtle "hiss" as the pressure releases when you unscrew the lid.
Brake fluid is one of the fluids that most people overlook, but it's essential to ensure your car can stop when you need it to.
The brake fluid reservoir is usually at the back of the engine bay and is clearly marked. Similar to the coolant reservoir, the top of the reservoir is often translucent with a clearly marked level.
Modern cars may not have a transmission fluid dipstick, as transmission technologies continue to change. However, a technician will typically check the fluid during a service. Regular servicing is essential for maintaining your car's health, and you should have your car serviced regularly by an expert.
If your car has a transmission dipstick, it's usually at the front of the engine on a front-drive car or at the back on a rear-drive car. You can check the fluid level the same way you do with the engine oil.
The windscreen washer fluid reservoir is likely the most familiar to car owners, and it is essential to keep it filled with water to ensure your windscreen wiper jets can clean your screen.
The top of the reservoir is generally translucent too, so you can check your levels easily. Additionally, you can add a windscreen-washer solution of your choice (such as Bars Bugs) to clean grime off the glass.
In conclusion, checking the fluids in your car is a basic requirement for keeping it in good condition. If you're unsure about the brands or types of fluid to use, check your car handbook or ask a mechanic. Always remember that these are just basic checks in between services, and you should have your car regularly serviced by an expert to maintain its health.