In our experience, it seems most vehicle owners know their vehicle needs an oil change. Next, they may know about a transmission flush and maybe even know a thing or two about car coolant. But when it comes to all the vital fluids needed to keep a vehicle running, many drivers are in the dark. Vital fluids are an integral part of a functioning vehicle, hence the name. It’s important to understand the fluids involved in keeping your vehicle functioning and the importance of keeping them clean.
Do you know your vehicle has eight unique fluids pumping through its veins?
These fluids flow through and lubricate all of the vehicle's systems. The brake system, transmission, cooling and--as you know--engine all depend on fluids to function.
These fluids are:
Maintaining a vehicle requires servicing its fluids throughout its life. Servicing fluids protects the integrity of the fluid’s respective systems. Not doing so leads to premature failures and breakdowns.
“Fluid maintenance has proven itself as the key to long vehicle life.” -BG Products
Get info about your vehicle's fluids from your owner's manual, but be aware.
While your vehicle owner’s manual does provide helpful information about your vehicle’s vital fluids, it does not always provide accurate recommendations for the intervals at which to service the fluids. It more so gives accurate information about the specific types of fluids your vehicle requires. The owner’s manual does not account for important factors that affect fluid integrity such as how the vehicle is driven.
Most driving falls under the "severe" category conditions of an owner's manual.
Contrary to popular belief, most people's driving is considered “severe”. This is because stop-and-go city driving is harsher on vehicle systems than consistent and prolonged highway driving. Most drivers follow a "normal" maintenance schedule when, in fact, it is only a very small percentage of drivers who really fall into this category.
Manufacturer's owner’s manuals also do not take into account weather and road conditions when recommending service intervals for fluids. Weather and road conditions also greatly affect fluid contamination and the rate at which it should be serviced.
Owner’s manuals do not consider the age and mileage of a vehicle.
For example, the owner’s manual for 2003 Honda Odyssey may indicate the oil needs to be changed every 7,500 miles. However, as the vehicle ages this becomes much to infrequent, especially if the vehicle’s engine has over 100,000 miles. As engines age they will either leak oil or use more up internally. Drivers who go too long between oil changes bring their vehicles in to the shop with very low and very dark oil, which is causing premature wear on the engine.
So we must take a vehicle owner’s manual for what it is--a document created by vehicle manufacturers. It’s in their best interest to give vague, general guidelines for vehicle maintenance. Vehicle manufacturers get more sales if they can advertise that their make/model is low-maintenance. It’s what we all want, right? However, the reality of what we see coming into repair shops proves that all vehicles require more maintenance than many owner's manuals and manufacturers may indicate. Mostly, they are unable to provide realistic recommendations based on personal driving habits.
Here is a safe general rule of thumb for servicing your vehicle’s vital fluids:
Fluid Service Cheat Sheet
At Community Auto, we have your best interests in mind.
We maintain your service records, history and notes and are therefore able to provide custom recommendations for your vehicle. You really don’t have to worry about it when it’s at Community Auto. We strive to recommend the best services and products in the industry such as BG and Schaefer's fluid additives, which we keep on-hand to most effectively service your vehicle’s fluids when you need it.
Schedule an appointment for your vehicle today.