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How to Check the Fluids in Your Car

If you’ve never worked on your own car before even something as simple as checking the various fluid levels under the hood can seem like a tall order. Not to worry; Pete Moore Mitsubishi is here to guide you through every step!

Step 1: Always Read the Manual First

The first thing you should do is check your owner’s manual to see how often you’re supposed to check the fluid levels in your car. Keep in mind that this is only a minimum, so you may want to check them more frequently. Checking your fluids often can increase the lifespan of your vehicle.

Step 2: Safety is Key

Next, make sure your car is parked on a level surface to ensure accuracy of the measurements. Also engage the parking brake for safety. The last thing you want to do is cause more harm than good when trying to do something productive.

Step 3: Getting Under the Hood

Now you want to find the latch to safely open the hood. This latch can be in different places depending on the model of your vehicle. Different vehicles also have different ways of keeping the hood up. Once open, some have a simple bar that you can engage while others utilize a hydraulic system to automatically keep the hood lifted for you.

Step 4: Taking the First Step

The first fluid to check is your motor oil. This should be done regularly, such as every time you fill your gas tank. You’ll need to wait until the car’s engine has cooled down to perform this step. Wait at least an hour for everything to settle. Now you can use your owner’s manual to locate the dipstick you’ll use to take the reading. First, pull the dipstick out and clean it off with a rag or paper towel. Then reinsert it all the way back down. Pull it out once more and now you should be able to take an accurate reading of your oil level.

Step 5: Incoming Transmission

Checking the transmission fluid will use another dipstick just like the oil. However, this one should be done while the engine is running. Again, always refer to the owner’s manual for specific variations and also check the manual if your car has an automatic transmission. Just like with the oil you’ll want to pull out the dipstick, wipe it off, and put it all the way back in to get an accurate measurement.

Step 6: Now for the Brakes

As always, check the manual first to locate this fluid in your car. It should be in a semi-transparent plastic container. Once you’ve located it, you should be able to look through the plastic and see the fluid inside. Brake fluid should never get low. Check with a mechanic if it is as this could be a sign of a larger problem.

Step 7: Power Steering, Coolant, and Washer Fluid

The power steering fluid should be in another transparent plastic container just like the brake fluid. Check the level through the plastic and add more fluid as needed. Now it’s time to check the engine coolant. This, like the oil, should only be checked once the engine of the car has had ample time to cool. Look for another plastic container near the radiator to check this fluid. If the level is low, then you’ll need to buy antifreeze to refill it. Finally, windshield washer fluid is not critical to replace, but it can be very helpful to have for when your windshield gets dirty.
The biggest thing to remember is every car is different. That’s why your user’s manual should be the first place you look when you don’t know where to find something. If you check your car’s fluid and think something is out of place, stop in to our Service department at Pete Moore Mitsubishi in Pensacola and we can assist you. Also don’t forget to keep up on the latest Sales and Service specials on our website.
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