3 Essential Automotive Fluids Your Vehicle Cannot Go Without

All vehicles require regular scheduled maintenance, service, and tune ups in order to perform at their best ability. Long-term vehicle care is impossible without various routine maintenances. One of the most important factory scheduled maintenance requirements to stick by is automotive fluid re-fills.

There are several fluids a vehicle requires in order for it to operate safely and efficiently. These liquids include everything from battery fluid and transmission fluid, to windshield wiper fluid, power steering fluid, and more. Although there are various fluids that a vehicle absolutely needs in order to operate effectually, there are a few liquids in particular that are vital to a person’s safety and a car’s performance.

Continue reading to learn about the three most essential automotive fluids that no vehicle should ever be without, on the road.

Brake Fluid

Brakes are one of the most important components within a vehicle. Without properly functioning brakes, a vehicle is basically not drivable. A car or truck must be able to come to a stop for a driver and passenger, as well as other drivers on the road, to be safe. One product that makes our braking systems operate effectively is brake fluid. Brake fluid typically needs replaced every few months or so; depending on the amount of driving a person does.

When pressure is applied to the brake pedal, the brake fluid is compressed, transferring hydraulic force to the brake pads and shoes, allowing the vehicle to stop. Without proper amounts of brake fluid, a vehicle’s brake pads and shoes will have difficulty producing enough friction to complete a stop. A mechanic is the person capable of checking your brake line system and re-filling the brake fluid. Although it can also be a DIY job, it is not recommended unless you have experience working with cars and trucks.

Motor Oil

Motor oil is one the most important fluids in a vehicle. It is engineered to cycle through a vehicle’s engine crankcase in order to lubricate the pistons, valves, and other inner engine components. If a vehicle has an internal combustion engine, it will certainly require motor oil. If a vehicle does not have a sufficient amount of motor oil, the engine will seize up and fail in a short amount of time. Be sure to have a licensed mechanic check your motor oil levels to be sure you are driving with a properly lubricated engine.

Coolant

Coolant is a heat-transfer liquid. The most common coolants on the market are a 50/50 combination of radiator coolant and water. Coolant is intended to keep a vehicle’s engine from overheating. When you see a person on the side of the road, with the hood of their car smoking, this is an indication that their engine has overheated. It works by cycling through an engine, collecting heat as it goes, and returning back to the radiator so the heat can be released out of the vehicle and into the air. Coolant levels are easy to check on your own. Consult a licensed mechanic for instructions and advice on checking your oil stick and coolant levels in your vehicle.

Vehicle Detailing Tips

Like many automobile enthusiasts, you probably find yourself wishing you could keep that bright, showroom shine all the time. The problem is, most people do not have the spare time to spend hours each week on their vehicle, and even more people do not have or do not want to spend the money for a detailing company to do the work for them.

The fact of the matter is, there are a handful of secrets, tips, and tricks that can make detailing easier, less time consuming, and longer lasting. You really do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on those 5-hour step-by-step kits you find in stores. With the right knowledge and a few basic items, you can have a professional looking detail job for a fraction of the cost and very little time commitment.

1. The Clay Bar

Clay bars have been a long-time secret employed by almost every detail shop in existence. In fact, it has been such a well-kept secret, that commercial, consumer-level detailing clay had not even seen the shelves until around 2003. This is, for sure, going to be one of your best tools when it comes to detailing your vehicle.

The trick to a solid, long-term detail job is applying polish and wax on the cleanest possible surface. When you wash your car with soap and water, you will notice that, after drying, you can rub your hand across the seemingly clean surface and feel tiny bumps. These are minor bits of road gunk and other imperfections, and that is where clay comes in – to remove this debris.

Detailing clay is used with a spray-on lubricant (usually silicon-based) and rubbed across the surface of the vehicle. The clay will pick up all the little bits of grime that normal washing leaves behind, and also strip away any remaining wax on the vehicle.

2. Multiple Polishes

Most detailing kits come with a single hand-applicable polish. A trick that many detailing shops use is to apply polish at more than one level, in multiple coats.

You will need to select the level of polish right for you, based on the condition of your vehicle. Typical use consists of using a medium-heavy polish that cuts into the clear coat fairly aggressively, and then a second coat with a very light polish to remove even the smallest scratches and marks.

3. Electric Polisher

The biggest, most effective tip in detailing your vehicle is to use an electric polisher. This step alone will greatly reduce the amount of time and arm work required to get the job done. One coat of polish by hand will generally take an experienced detailer about one hour, whereas using an electric polisher, that same coat can be applied in 15 minutes.

Many people never look into using a polisher because of fear of damaging their cars finish. That would be a valid concern with older style rotary buffers, but in the highly technological world of today, it is no longer a concern. Random orbital polishers are very gentle on paint, and can be used by a complete novice safely.

Look into applying these three tips, and your own car detailing can be easier, faster, and can last longer.