Under the Hood – Your Cars’ Vital Fluids

Whether you intend to keep your car for 100K, 200K, or even 300K and beyond you must consider the vehicles maintenance needs. Just about any car can make it to 100K and not be maintained well. It’s between 100K and 200K where your cars service history makes a difference. And only those cars that were maintained properly will have a chance of reaching 300K and beyond.

Motor Oil

No matter what oil change interval you subscribe to, it’s not only important to keep your engine well lubricated, but clean as well. Dirty oil creates sludge and will over time create blockages and restrict passages for your oil to circulate properly. Plus the build up can cause oil leaks or loss of oil pressure. Normal service intervals as dictated by car manufacturers are in reality for those living in ideal situations. Extreme weather, stop & go traffic, and changing humidity levels in our area all qualify as ‘severe’ when it comes to service intervals.

Antifreeze

Engine coolant in many European cars are labeled ‘long life’ so as to give the impression they don’t need changed as the more conventional anti freeze brands did. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Over time these fluids still breakdown and become acidic, deteriorating seals and gaskets.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid has a quality that may be unknown to many. It is hygroscopic, which means it has the abiliity to attract and retain moisture. Flushing it is important because when excessive moisture builds up inside a brake system it can affect the fluids performance. Where clean brake fluid has an extremely high boiling point the build up of moisture can cause oxidation to form, and decrease the boiling point of the fluid, degrading the performance and lifespan of the hydraulic components of your brake system.

Transmission Fluid

Replacing a transmission is a major expense. Making a transmission last is as simple as changing the fluid before it breaks down. There are cars nearing 300K miles that are still have the original transmission by being diligent with servicing the transmission of their car, and there are many, many cars that have transmission failure between 100K to 200K because of negligent servicing.

Power Steering Fluid

Your cars power steering fluid is probably the most resilient of all your cars fluids but too can become contaminated over time and like anything else, if the fluid is never changed it will eventually breakdown causing seals to leak. Replacing a steering rack can be a very expensive repair on most cars.

To summarize, many of us love our cars and want to make them last. The phrase “They don’t make them the way they used to” is only partly correct. From a mechanics stand point “They don’t maintain them the way they used to” bares just as much weight.

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