The Importance of Maintaining Transmission and Coolant Levels

“Have I checked my coolant? When was my last oil change? I need more windshield wiper fluid… ugh.” Fluids are nothing short of an annoyance. They always need to be checked for leaks or refills. However, fluids are a necessary part of your vehicle. Think of the fluids in your vehicle akin to blood in your body. It needs to be healthy and at good levels to maintain the body’s health.

Coolant is one of the most commonly known fluids in your vehicle, next to your oil. Coolant – antifreeze – is what keeps the engine from overheating in the summer and from freezing in the wintertime. It is also the most common to leak besides oil. Hoses are used to transport coolant throughout your engine, which means there is an increased likelihood of leaking.

Small leaks are quite common, however, it’s best to bring in your car to get it looked as soon as you can. If this is out of the cards for you at the moment, don’t fret, just keep a jug of coolant in your trunk and check it regularly. Your coolant levels are always easily accessible, normally in a translucent vessel under the hood of your vehicle. Pour sufficient coolant in when needed, don’t overfill!

A fluid that many are not as familiar with is transmission fluid. However, it cannot be overlooked. Transmissions are the most complex mechanical element in your vehicle, next to the engine. There are a lot of moving parts! Your transmission fluid is responsible for lubricating mechanical parts, maintaining fluid pressure, cooling, preventing oxidation, conditioning the gasket, and preventing rust. Because it’s an integral part of vehicle performance, keeping up with your transmission fluid can maintain vehicle health into the future.

Locating your transmission levels is a little more difficult. Park your vehicle on a level surface, and make sure the engine is warmed up. Search for the dipstick which is normally located towards the firewall of the car, past the engine. Make sure you’re not checking your oil dipstick! (You may need to look at your owner’s manual to identify it.) Pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, replace it slowly, and then pull it back out. Check the fluid level — how high the fluid comes up on the dipstick — against the “full” and “low” or “fill” marks on the dipstick. The health of the fluid depends on the color of the fluid, reddish-pink is good. A browner color could mean some bad news. Or it could mean that you just need to have it changed.

If either of these fluids is low, stop by Houska and we can get these back to normal and keep your vehicle running!

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