Big advances in automotive technology have led to the development of high-tech fluids to keep pace. A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made from iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.
Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, we now have several different kinds of coolant.
And it’s important to use the right coolant. If you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Of course, your service advisor will know the proper coolant to use. If you’re concerned you may have used the wrong fluid, be safe and have your technician flush the system and start fresh with the correct fluid.
Brake fluid is confusing for some. For a very long time, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the requirements of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is recommended for your vehicle.
Transmission fluid is the same thing. With the tremendous engineering advances in automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.
Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s modern engine design.
Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and get better fuel economy. And with all the complication and sophistication, they still must be durable.
That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They must be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all those engine parts, big and little. The oil must be thin enough to get into small passages, yet resistant to vaporization.
Your vehicle may have come from the factory with synthetic oil and/or transmission, brake, differential fluid, etc. If so, your recommended service intervals will be based on synthetic-type fluids and you should use the same type when your vehicle is serviced.
Because grades of oil and types of coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, etc. are so carefully matched to the vehicle, take care to always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home. Check your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor. The wrong fluid can cause damage.
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D AND E AUTO REPAIR
3328 D ESPLANADE
CHICO, CA 95973