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Understanding your Car’s Fluids

We all know that cars need gasoline or diesel to run, but are you aware of the many other car fluids required to help keep it running? Motor oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, even windshield wiper fluid are all car fluids that help your car run smoothly and safely.

Understanding Your Car’s Motor Oil

Motor Oil is used in internal combustion engines as a lubricant in order to keep moving parts such as the crankshaft moving smoothly. It also helps to clean, prevent corrosion or rust from forming, improves the quality of seals in the engine, and helps to carry heat away from friction-causing moving parts in the engine. There are different grades of motor oils that are determined by their optimal operating temperatures. The two standard types of motor oils are known as single-grade and multi-grade, with single-grade motor oils being used in more specialized engines, such as lawn mowers and classic cars where the temperature range will not have wide fluctuations. Most modern cars use multi-grade motor oils, which are designed to be used in very cold winter temperatures as well as on very hot summer days.

Understanding Brake Fluid

Unlike motor oil, brake fluid is not a petroleum product, since oil can damage and erode the rubber hoses and seals used in braking systems. Brake fluids do not have different grades like motor oils due, since they must be able to function consistently and reliably under a wide range of temperatures. Brake fluid has a slightly misleading name, since the fluid itself is not what causes a car to stop. It is used as a way to turn force into a form of pressure that causes the discs in a braking system to clamp down and bring the vehicle to a stop. While many people make it a point to change their motor oil at regular intervals, brake fluid is often neglected and should be changed whenever you have your brake pads replaced.

Understanding Automatic Transmission Fluid

Even though it is named automatic transmission fluid, and is the main fluid used in cars with automatic transmissions, it has other functions as well as keeping the gears in a vehicle with automatic transmission shifting smoothly. Many power steering systems also use automatic transmission fluid as their primary hydraulic fluid. Automatic transmission fluid can also be used as a lubricant in vehicles equipped with 4WD, as well as in front-wheel drive vehicles with manual transmissions. Automatic transmission fluid is typically red in color, in order to distinguish it from other car fluids in the vehicle such as motor oil. Automatic transmission fluid is very specialized since transmissions have very different needs than other parts of the car, and have performance-enhancing chemicals added to it to help meet specific needs of each transmission.

Understanding Antifreeze

While the main purpose of antifreeze is as its name suggests, to prevent the freezing of parts in your car in sub zero temperatures, it is also used as a coolant fluid to prevent overheating in your car. Antifreeze was originally developed in order to overcome the problems ordinary water had as being an effective means of transferring heat. Most antifreeze is made of a combination of some type of alcohol and distilled water. Antifreeze is, however very toxic to humans and has been involved in many cases of accidental poisoning. Antifreeze poisoning is very difficult to diagnose since many of the symptoms of antifreeze poisoning can mimic those of other illnesses, so antifreeze should be stored and disposed of in a careful and responsible manner to prevent accidental poisoning.

As you can see, there are many different types of car fluids that your car relies on to run safely and efficiently. Each individual system relies on fluids to help cool and protect their functions.  Be sure to protect your investment as well by getting cheap auto insurance including cheap auto insurance for teens today!

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