Fluid Flushing & Maintenance Basics

Regularly maintaining your vehicle is necessary to keep it running properly. As technology develops and cars become more complex, regular maintenance can demand more attention. Sometimes, your regular repair technician can help you stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance schedule.

Fluid flushing is when old fluid is replaced with new fluid. Sometimes, before the new fluid is added to the system, there is a rinse or cleanse of the entire system that is meant to remove grime and buildup that accumulates as the vehicle runs.

When it comes to fluid flushing, what kinds of maintenance are necessary? There are several kinds of fluid that may need to be replaced or flushed.

Engine Oil

Motor oil keeps your engine running smoothly by maintaining the proper temperature and avoiding too much friction. Over time, it wears out and needs to be replaced – usually every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or so. Most of the time, oil flushes aren’t necessary, so speak with your regular mechanic if you have questions or are considering one.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is rarely replaced, and most vehicles will never require a brake fluid flush. However, if moisture makes its way into your brake system, it should be replaced. Have your regular mechanic inspect your brake fluid if you’re concerned.

Power Steering Fluid

Power steering fluid is another one that doesn’t generally need to be flushed unless, when inspected, it contains grit or metal. Most of the time, power steering fluid maintenance schedules call for periodic replacement.

Radiator Fluid

Depending on how old your vehicle is, the maintenance schedule for flushing the radiator fluid can vary. In vehicles that were made prior to 2011, the radiator fluid should be drained and flushed approximately every two years. Since 2011, the radiator fluid that most vehicles use protects vehicles better and can withstand higher temperatures, so it doesn’t need to be changed or flushed as much. In either situation, discuss the maintenance schedule for your vehicle with your repair technician.

Transmission Fluid

In older cars, after the radiator, the most commonly flushed fluid is transmission fluid. However flushing the transmission fluid too often can be bad for the system, so make sure to check with your repair technician for the appropriate maintenance schedule! A quality transmission flush can take an hour or longer, and if your mechanic offers to do it faster, your system may not be properly flushed.