Check these four fluids before you drive

Sanjay/Jul 19, 2020 12:00 AM

Car care isn't daunting. It pays to do these simple checks and avoid repair bills and headaches in the end. Got it? Simple concept for a simple topic, so let’s go!

1. Check your coolant level

See the radiator cap? Some cars have it placed differently, so if you can’t find it on your car at that position, look for the boat shape and bright sticker up top.

All you have to do is unscrew it and add plain water (nothing else) to it.

Engines heat up while driving, and if there’s not enough water in your car, your engine will overheat, leaving you stranded at the side for what was an entirely avoidable problem. 

Just remember to absolutely do not open the cap when it’s hot because it becomes a mini-volcano. 

2. Engine oil level

That highlighted bit is the dipstick and it tells you how much engine oil is left. If there isn't enough engine oil (or worst case, none at all), you engine goes kaput. Plain and simple. 

To check engine oil level, just pull out the dipstick, wipe clean the remnant, and dip it again. Pull it out, and you can see how much is left inside.

It should be at F (full), viscous but not sludgy. Oil levels usually won’t drop too far from full, but if yours is, it’s best to get your car checked.

However, oil degrades over time and if you haven’t done it in some time, make sure to set aside around RM 300 and go for a service.

3. Brake fluid level

Brake fluid is important because it facilitates braking. Without getting too technical, if there’s no brake fluid in your car, your brakes don’t work.

Brake fluid normally does not drop (or be empty for that matter), so they don’t need to be topped off or changed constantly. If you see the levels dropping, best get it checked out by a professional - it could be a leak somewhere.

That said, pay attention when braking next time. If it feels spongy, makes weird noises or has less ‘bite’, get those checked too to be safe.

4. Windshield washer

If you want to get fancy, you can put windshield washer fluid in there but for general use, plain water is fine.

Keep this one topped off, it comes in handy when getting some dirt and dust off your windshield.