A Basic Guide to Automobile Fluids

Automobiles are made of lots of moving parts, but they can’t run without liquids to fuel them, keep them lubricated, and help them work. This is a basic guide to the fluids your vehicle depends on and the importance of auto maintenance.

Engine Oil

After fuel, which is absolutely necessary for any non-electric vehicle to run, engine oil is the next most important fluid in your car. It has several purposes: it keeps things cool, it keeps them lubricated, it prevents friction, and it cleans the engine.
Most cars have a stick that allows you to easily check the color, consistency, and level of the engine oil. It’s important to keep enough in your car and to change the oil and its filter regularly.

Brake Fluid

Brakes are one of the most important systems in any car, especially when it comes to safety. Modern brakes are hydraulic, which means they only work because of the fluid in the system. Over time, brake fluid can be contaminated or the system can fail, so if you notice your brake fluid leaking or your brakes aren’t working properly, it’s time to have them checked out.

Power Steering Fluid

This fluid helps make steering, especially at lower speeds, much easier. Without power steering fluid, every time you turn the wheel you’d be fighting the friction between the rubber tires and the road, which are designed to grip!

Windshield Wiper Fluid

Although you can drive your car safely without windshield wiper fluid, it still plays a role in helping you see where you’re driving. It’s easy to maintain and inexpensive to buy, just make sure it’s full so you have it when you need it.


Coolant, or antifreeze, is a special kind of liquid designed to absorb heat and prevent the engine from overheating. There are several ways that coolant can work in the engine, but without enough coolant, your engine is likely to overheat and stop working properly.

Transmission Fluid

Fluids Transmission fluid plays a role in the transmission similar to that played by engine oil in the engine: lubrication, cooling, and reduction of friction. While transmission fluid shouldn’t require upkeep, if you notice issues with your transmission, errors in manufacture, contamination, or damage caused in an accident could be to blame — check your transmission fluid.