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Checking fluids can save your car

August 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The first is engine oil. Check the level, and if it's low, add oil, but never overfill.The second is your coolant. It is usually in a clear plastic container. If it is below minimum, fill it up with a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze.

The third area to check is the power-steering fluid. It should be between the minimum and maximum levels.

The fourth monthly check is the brake fluid. In most vehicles, the brake fluid is in a clear reservoir marked with minimum and maximum lines. If it is low, fill it and then have the system checked. It could mean there are leaks or that the brake pads are wearing.

The last check is the windshield-washer fluid. It should always be full. It is important to keep your windshield clean, especially when there is a lot of glare from the sun.

During the summer months, if you've been running the engine, it can get very hot under the hood. So, you should wait for the engine to cool off, or wear some protective gloves so you don't burn your fingers.

You can find the location of fluids in your owner's manual. Consumer Reports says in addition to the five main checkpoints, you should also check the transmission fluid.


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