In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character keeps waking up on the same day, over and over. Does it feel the same with your vehicle? If you’ve ever said to yourself, “it seems like I just had that changed,” this article is for you!
The fluids in your vehicle are more than just a nuisance that seem like they need to be replaced continually. From engine oil to coolant/anti-freeze to brake fluid, these fluids do a number of important jobs inside your vehicle, and it’s no wonder they need regular flushes. Here is why it’s not Groundhog Day for your vehicle…just a regular day for these hard-working fluids!
Engine oil has one of the hardest jobs in your vehicle. Not only does it have to lubricate hundreds of moving parts, it also helps to keep your engine cool AND cleans out microscopic soot and debris that would otherwise build up and cause malfunctions.
The more times your engine oil is heated up and cooled down and the more sludge it cleans out of your engine, the more your oil loses its ability to lubricate, protect and cool. If you wait too long between oil changes, sludge can build up, friction can start to damage parts, and bigger problems can start to build. It might seem like your oil was just changed, but it’s done a lot of work over the past 5000 miles!
Coolant/antifreeze does the dual job of making sure your car will start AND keep running in any weather. It’s added to the water in your radiator and makes sure that water doesn’t freeze in cold temperatures AND raises the boiling point of that water so it can move heat out of your engine effectively.
As it’s doing all of that hard work, however, coolant/antifreeze can suffer a number of problems. The first is rust, which will grow in the cooling system over time. Changing coolant regularly helps prevent rust from spreading. The other problem is with the pH balance. Over time, coolant/antifreeze can become too acidic or too alkaline. Acidity can eat at hoses, gaskets, heater cores and the radiator itself. Alkalinity can lead to mineral deposits that clog your cooling system. It may seem like the last year flew by, but antifreeze/coolant needs to be changed every other year in order to prevent these problems!
Brake fluid is an amazing fluid. It allows you transfer the force of pushing on a pedal into the pressure required to stop your vehicle when you need it to stop. Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid, meaning it’s used to move other parts.
The problem is that brake fluid is hygroscopic — meaning that just like the solid brick of brown sugar in your pantry, brake fluid loves pulling moisture out of the air and holding onto it. The more water in your brake lines, the worse the fluid does at stopping your vehicle.
So even though it seems like just yesterday that you had your brake fluid flushed, it needs to be changed every two years! This video from the Monday Morning Mechanic shows you how to test your brake fluid to see if it’s time for a flush!
Not sure when the last time your coolant or brake fluid was flushed? Our technicians can check on the condition of these and the other fluids in your vehicle to make sure problems like rust, acidity and water aren’t silently building into bigger issues.
Call (719) 481-4393 or stop by our shop in Monument today and let our ASE-Certified technicians inspect your vehicle and keep you safely on the road!