When a vehicle's check engine light comes on, there could be many reasons, but the root cause is probably one of your car’s fluids. Fluids help lubricate, cool, and power your engine, radiator, transmission, power steering, and brakes. When one gets too low or contaminated, it can lead to a visit to the auto repair shop. Understanding what fluids are most important can save you a costly repair bill.
Guide to Important Car Fluids
1. Engine Oil
Oil changes are recommended on a schedule because motor oil is the blood that keeps your engine working. It lubricates all of the internal moving parts so the engine doesn’t wear out prematurely. When oil gets low or dirty, it can cause your engine to sputter, overheat, and stop working altogether.
2. Transmission Fluid
Similar to engine oil, transmission fluid lubricates all of the moving parts of a transmission. Depending on the type of transmission your car features — automatic or manual — it can also act as a coolant and a way to transmit power from the engine to the transmission. Signs your transmission fluid are low include screeching noises. Symptoms also include loss of acceleration and problems with gears functioning correctly.
3. Radiator Coolant
Sometimes overheated coolant can trigger a check engine light. Coolant flows into the radiator where it is circulated to the engine, absorbing the heat produced by your car during its operation. Coolant is usually water-based, unlike other fluids in your vehicle. If it’s not changed, the coolant can become acidic, causing internal parts to corrode. This can damage a car’s radiator, hoses, water pump, and thermostat.
4. Power Steering Fluid
As its name implies, power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid that powers the pistons in your power steering, allowing you to control the direction of your wheels. If you hear a whining or squealing noise when you turn the wheel, your fluid is too low. It can also become difficult to turn the wheel, endangering you and other drivers.
5. Brake Fluid
A lubricant of your car’s moving parts that also prevents corrosion, the brake fluid’s primary task is transferring the instructions from your brake pedal to the wheel hub. Brake fluid must remain liquid and keep from overheating to perform its job. When your brake fluid gets low or evaporates, you can lose control of your brakes.
If you see your car’s check engine light turn on, the auto repair specialists at Safe Auto Service in Meriden, CT, can diagnose the problem and find the most affordable solution. From oil changes to major repairs, their experienced technicians are ASA and ASE certified. Call (203) 237-4311 or visit them online to schedule a check engine light appointment today.