A Guide to the Essential Fluids for Your Nissan
Understanding your car’s essential fluids and when to replace them will help you avoid breakdowns, while insuring your car’s longevity.
Oil is the lifeblood of your car’s engine. It lubricates all the moving parts, keeps everything from overheating, cleans away dirt particles by trapping them in the oil filter, and prevents oxygen from causing rust. You don’t want to leave oil in your engine for too long, as it will become dirty and lose its effectiveness. Therefore, schedule oil changes by Nissan’s recommended schedule for your vehicle.
Between maintenance visits and on road trips, it’s a good idea to check your oil periodically. When the engine is cool for at least an hour, pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean with a rag, dip it back in, and pull it out. Look at the oil’s height on the gauge marked on the dipstick. It will indicate if you are within the full range. Next, look at the appearance. Good oil appears translucent with a golden-brown to a black-brown hue. If it appears milky, that means the oil is dirty and ready to be changed.
Cars with automatic transmissions have a second dipstick for transmission fluid. Manuals have a hard-to-access point that is best handled by certified mechanics. Transmission fluid works in a similar manner as engine oil, keeping the transmission lubricated and cool. It also keeps seals soft and provides the needed hydraulic pressure for gear shifting. Low fluid due to a leak can lead to transmission failure, so address any transmission fluid issues right away.
This fluid is known by a few names, including radiator fluid, and it has a basic yet important job: It keeps your engine from freezing in the winter and overheating in the summer. What’s more, it protects the engine from rust and corrosion year-round and lubricates the water pump seals. The fluid does get dirty and should be replaced as part of your preventive maintenance plan. When you check the coolant level, always do so when the engine is cold, as opening a hot radiator cap is dangerous. If you need to top off the fluid, avoid mixing different colors and types. Use the same as you have previously.
Your brakes rely on brake fluid for hydraulic pressure. If you must replace your brake fluid, first confirm which type your car uses in your user manual. If your car requires DOT 4, only use DOT 4. Using any other kind can cause damage and brake failure. You’ll know if the brake fluid has gone bad by the dark brown or black color.
Power Steering Fluid
If you notice a buzz while turning the steering wheel at slow speeds, it can mean your power steering fluid is low. This fluid lubricates the hoses and mechanisms in providing the power to steer. You can check the level using a small dipstick under the cap, which will show if it’s full. If you have to fill it more than once a year, have a professional check for leaks.
Getting to know your Nissan can mean the difference of keeping it on the road or in the shop. Pay attention to its needs to keep your vehicle at your service instead of having always to service your vehicle.
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