Fluids and lubricants rank among the most neglected items when it comes to basic auto care, says the non-profit Car Care Council.
Community car care events held throughout the country found that the top-three fluids most likely to be low or contaminated are windshield washer fluid in 26 percent of inspected vehicles, followed by engine oil at 23 percent and coolant at 19 percent.
Windshield washer fluid keeps dirt and debris from collecting on a vehicle’s windshield, allowing the driver full visibility and making it an essential safety item. Windshield washer fluid should be checked monthly and drivers should use a fluid that is specially formulated for their climate.
Engine oil lubricates the moving parts of a vehicle’s engine, helping keep the engine clean and preventing wear and overheating. Neglecting to change a vehicle’s oil can lead to costly repairs, including replacement. Engine oil levels should be checked frequently and changed per the owner’s manual.
Coolant absorbs heat from the engine and dissipates it through the radiator and heat exchanger. Because coolant breaks down over time, neglecting it can lead to corrosion, rust and engine overheating. Flushing and replacing coolant every six to 12 months, depending upon climate, will help prevent costly repairs.
“Checking fluids and lubricants is easy to put off, but each is critical to your vehicle running properly and safely,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “The good news is that they are easy to check and inexpensive to replace. Whether you do it yourself or visit a trusted technician, be sure to inspect your vehicle for any possible signs of trouble so you can address minor service needs before they turn into major repairs.”