It doesn’t take long to regularly check the various fluid levels in your car and yet so many people wait until a warning light illuminates before sorting things out. It’s not very convenient when you find the washer fluid level light comes on when you’re miles from home or a gas station and it’s raining. It’s worse if you find the coolant light illuminates and even more worrying when the oil pressure light comes on.
Minimize the chances of these types of things occurring by undertaken regular checks when the engine is cold. Set yourself a diary note on your computer to do these checks every couple of weeks; more frequently is even better.
Make sure you keep a supply of engine oil, coolant and washer fluid in your garage so you are ready to top them up as necessary.
Open the hood. Look for the washer fluid bottle; it’s clearly labeled. Pour in undiluted washer fluid into the bottle and then top up with tap water. The amount of concentrated washer fluid in relation to the amount of tap water is labeled on the bottle. If you live in very cold conditions, then you need a stronger mix, so it doesn’t freeze. Check to make sure you don’t have a separate washer fluid bottle if you have a rear window wiper. You can find this out from looking in the car’s manual.
Check the coolant level. Again the expansion coolant tank will be clearly labeled. If you look on the side of the tank you will see a minimum and maximum line. The coolant should be between the two lines. If the level is below the maximum mark you need to top it up. It’s best to use coolant, but if necessary you can use tap water. However, don’t keep topping up with tap water, because the mixture will get weak and may freeze. If your cooling system freezes the pipes may spilt, your radiator may burst and your engine could crack; all of which is very costly to repair.
If you need to top up the coolant level it’s essential the engine is cool. Once you have made sure the engine is cool, remove the screw cap. Pour in enough coolant or water until it reaches the maximum marker; don’t overfill, the maximum marker is there for a reason. Replace the cap and tighten. If you notice you need to top up the coolant level every time you do your checks, you probably have a leak in the system so it’s best to get it checked as soon as possible.
Locate the oil dipper stick. The top is usually yellow; the color of oil. Pull the stick outward and wipe the end clean with a rag. Replace the stick and remove again. Check the oil level by looking at the minimum and maximum marker. If it needs topping up then remove the oil cap on the engine and pour in some oil. A little at a time is best. Keep rechecking the oil level on the stick until the oil level is at the maximum mark then replace the oil cap and the stick.