Motor oil is your engine’s lifeblood. Even if you’ve never changed your own oil before, you probably at least know how to check it, and how often to get it changed. But what about the rest of the fluids that keep your car running smoothly? Transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant are just as important, and often just as easy to check at home. So, how often should you check these fluid levels in your car, and how do you know if there’s a problem? Here’s a short guide.
Checking Your Transmission Fluid
This is going to vary depending on what kind of car you drive. Some cars come with a second dipstick under the hood, similar to the oil dipstick, so it’s easy to check your transmission fluid yourself. In other cars, it’s not easily accessible, so you’ll need to visit the service center to get it checked. We recommend checking it every time you get an oil change.
If you check your transmission fluid yourself, do it while the engine is running. Look at the quality of the fluid, not the level – if it smells burnt, or if it’s brownish instead of red, it needs to be changed.
Checking Your Coolant and Brake Fluid
As a rule of thumb, you should check your coolant level twice a year, once before summer and once before winter. Check your brake fluid every oil change or at least once a year. Generally, your car’s coolant tank and brake fluid reservoirs will be visible under the hood, with MIN/MAX markings on the side of the tank showing the proper level. Check your car’s owner’s manual if you’re not sure where to find them: