KAPOW! You’ve just been sucker-punched by a blinking oil light. And until you have private access to your own superhero you must learn what’s going on under your bonnet, quick smart.
While most of us find out about Superman than perform our cars, there are a few things you need to know to help keep yourself on the highway. Even if the initial real life superhero (aka Mum or Dad) taught that you simply thing or three about cars, their notes about all the different liquids needed underneath the bonnet may have slipped to the back of the mind – what with remembering to brake before you hit the curb at the forefront of your mind.
It’s very easy to ignore your car’s basic needs when, well, for just one, you don’t know how to locate the portion of the engine it goes in, and 2, you’re not entirely sure what it does. So here’s a refresher on several of the basic fluids your car needs. And with a little comic book inspired memory jog, you can be your own personal superhero by getting to know your under-the-bonnet basics.
Your OIL. Oil is to your engine like blood is to your body – without it things stop working. It lubricates the moving aspects of your engine (the cylinders and pistons) so they don’t cause friction. Friction is an engine’s nemesis; it causes so much heat that this metal bits of the engine begin to weld and melt together and eventually the engine itself seizes. So, to make certain your engine remains functional, it needs oil.
You should check your car’s oil once a month by checking its level around the dipstick, which looks such as this:
Where will you be without BRAKE FLUID? Probably in a lot of trouble. You are using brake fluid every time you stop or slow your vehicle. Brake fluid assists in the transfer of force once you press the brake pedal. Without brake fluid, your automobile will not stop as easily, creating a dangerous situation on your own and others. It’s a good idea to examine your brake fluid regularly to be certain there aren’t any leaks in your brake lines (the lines that transfer the liquid towards the brakes). When you notice a rapid lowering of brake fluid you may have a problem with your brake lines. You can get the brake fluid reservoir on the driver’s side in the car and you will check the level by looking at the outside of the container.
That’s right, POWER STEERING FLUID. You do have a friendly side-kick doing the heavy lifting, although you may think you’re in complete charge of your car. The strength steering system in your car helps you turn your steering wheel. Like your brakes, power steering is a hydraulic system – it uses liquid to go its component parts. So, it’s a good idea to keep close track of your power steering fluid levels. You should be able to easily locate your power steering fluid reservoir under your bonnet, just look at your car’s manual. Like a lot of the fluid reservoirs under your bonnet you will be able to check the level by exploring the plastic container.
Check your COOLANT. Much like the name suggests, coolant is actually a fluid which makes hot things cool. Just like a swim inside the ocean cools you on a hot summer’s day, coolant is used by your car’s radiator to cool your engine down and keep it from overheating. Once before summer and then before winter your coolant needs to be checked at least two times a year -. Coolant is often kept in a plastic container next to the radiator so you must be able to check your coolant levels by simply looking at the container to see if the liquid inside comes up to the correct level.
Check your WASHER FLUID. Don’t underestimate the basic need for washer fluid. Nothing could be more irritating, and indeed dangerous, compared to a dirty windshield when you’re driving to the sun. There are several different types of washer fluid on the market, and while some need to be blended with water, others can be used completely from the bottle. Make sure you know which one you are getting before you use it. Washer fluid should be checked regularly (monthly), depending on how often you use it. To check its levels simply open your bonnet and look for a clear plastic container that is certainly labelled either with words or with a windscreen symbol.
The Final Word
Just keep in mind that all cars are different, so consult your car’s manual for further specific instruction. Ensure your car is turned off and cooled down before you check your under-the-bonnet basics also.
It’s important to keep your car well maintained, and knowing your under bonnet basics is a superb start; ensure you have your car or truck serviced regularly to ensure it’s running at its optimum. And, to the peace of mind of your very own on-road super hero, compare Roadside Assistance policies today. Happy driving!