Things to Know About Checking the Fluids in Your Vehicle - information from the the pros at Shingle Springs Subaru serving Sacramento, CA

May 15, 2019

Your Subaru relies on many different fluids to help it run. If any of the various fluids are lower than they should be, or if they're contaminated, your vehicle could be in trouble. For this reason, it's a good idea to know something about some of the easier-to-access fluids--including how to check them and what to look out for. Here are six fluids you can check in your Subaru.

A close-up view of the symbol of a wiper fluid reservoir.

6. Windshield Wiper Fluid

It's best not to wait until the wiper fluid reservoir is empty to refill it. After all, you never know when you'll need to use wiper fluid--and if there's none left, it could cause a dangerous lack of visibility. The wiper fluid reservoir will be translucent, with a windshield wiper symbol on the cap. Remove this cap and look into the reservoir. If you can't see any fluid, it's time to add more.

A close-up view of a brake fluid reservoir with the cap on.

5. Power Steering Fluid

The power steering plays a huge role in making sure you can control your vehicle, and power steering fluid is an important part of this system. Generally, the power steering fluid reservoir is translucent, so you can check the level just by looking and making sure that the fluid is between the minimum and maximum fill lines. However, you should also take note of the color of the fluid. If it's clear or reddish, it's in good condition. Brown or black power steering fluid is a bad sign, and it can mean that it's contaminated by rubber or other contaminants from worn seals.

4. Automatic Transmission Fluid

Automatic transmission fluid is generally stored in an opaque container, so it requires that you use a dipstick to check the levels. Remove the dipstick, then wipe it down. Re-insert it, then pull it out again to make sure that the fluid is at the recommended level. It's a good idea to check this fluid every month. In addition, your engine should be warmed up before you check the transmission fluid in order to get an accurate reading.

A person adds coolant to their vehicle.

3. Brake Fluid

The brake fluid helps your entire braking system work. The brake fluid is also stored in a translucent container, so you should be able to make sure it's at the proper level just by looking. Low brake fluid could indicate a leak, which will need to be taken care of. Take a look at the color of the fluid while you're at it. If it's translucent and slightly yellow, it's probably in good condition. However, if it's darker or cloudier, it will probably need to be flushed. Since the brakes are such an important safety feature, it's a good idea to check the brake fluid monthly.

2. Coolant

The coolant helps keep your engine from overheating. As such, it's an important fluid to check; we recommend doing so every time you stop to fill up. The coolant is usually kept in a translucent reservoir, so it's easy to see if there's too little in there. A word of warning: if you do refill your coolant on your own, make sure the radiator is cold before doing so! Opening a radiator when it's hot can cause serious injury.

1. Engine Oil

Good old engine oil. It's responsible for so much in your engine, so it's a good idea to check it every time you refuel your Subaru. The oil uses a dipstick, so check the levels in the same way you'd check the automatic transmission fluid. If it's low, make sure to bring your Subaru in for an inspection.

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Shingle Springs Subaru

4045 Wild Chaparral Dr
Directions Shingle Springs, CA 95682

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