When Should I Replace the Fluids in My Car?

Proper maintenance of your car helps keep it running smoothly, extends its lifespan and prevents breakdowns and costly repairs. Maintaining proper fluid levels and replacing your fluids when necessary is one of the easiest ways to care for your car and ensure it is operating at its peak performance.

Engine Oil

Why it’s important: Your engine oil lubricates the moving pieces in your engine and helps prevent wear and tear.

Where it is: The engine oil is under your hood, usually centrally located. Look for the little circular dipstick handle to find it.

What to check: There are little marks on the dipstick that show minimum and maximum ticks. These are your guide and your oil should fall in between them, closer to the maximum. Make sure you pull out the dipstick, wipe it off and then reinsert it before reading the oil level. As you drive the fluid moves around and will give you a higher reading than is actually present.

When to change: The old 3,000 mile rule doesn’t really apply anymore, so you should check your owner’s manual for the right mileage for your specific make and model’s recommendation.

Power Steering Fluid

Why it’s important: Your power steering fluid helps you easily turn your wheel and keep your steering responsive.

Where it is: Your power steering fluid is housed in a reservoir under your hood. Normally you can visually check the reservoir just by looking at it.

What to check: If it is a little bit low, top it off and monitor the levels. The levels should not change a drastic amount. If it does, you need to have a mechanic check for a leak, as there could be a larger problem.

When to change: Refer to your car manual to be sure, but you usually shouldn’t have to flush the system and replace your power steering fluid. If you are concerned and want to refresh it just in case, every 50,000 miles is a good interval.


Why it’s important: In addition to keeping your air conditioning working properly, coolant (aka antifreeze) also keeps your engine from overheating.

Where it is: Your coolant is located inside your radiator. You can see it by simply removing the radiator cap and looking inside.

What to check: There should be a mark on the side signifying the optimum level. If it is low you can add more of the same brand that is currently in your car.

When to change: Your coolant should be completely changed out once every 2 years.

Transmission Fluid

Why it’s important: Your transmission fluid keeps the gears in your car running correctly and protects your transmission from wear and tear.

Where it is: Your transmission fluid is located in your transmission, which varies based on whether your car is a front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. But, just look for the other little dipstick handle sticking out of your engine. It should be located behind or to the right of your engine oil dipstick.

What to check: Your transmission fluid should never be low. You want to check that the fluid is still of good quality. It should be red, not brown, and shouldn’t smell burned or appear overly dirty.

When to change: It should be replaced every 50,000-100,000 miles, your owner’s manual will give a recommendation specific to your vehicle’s transmission type.

Brake Fluid

Why it’s important: Your brake fluid helps amplify your braking force and transfer that force into pressure.

Where it is: The brake fluid reservoir is located under the hood on the driver’s side of the car.

What to check: You can usually check the fluid level just by looking at the reservoir. The fluid should be a golden color, not brown. If it’s brown it should be replaced. It should never be low, if it is then take your car to a mechanic.

When to change: You should change your brake fluid every 2 years, or if you see it is dirty.

Contact MAS Repair for Your Repair Needs

At My Auto Solutions, we want to help you save money on car maintenance and repair service. Maintain your fluid levels and you can avoid unnecessary repairs and costly trips to the auto shop.

However, if you do find yourself needing a repair, My Auto Solutions offers an economical alternative to dealerships with our 24-hour turnaround for re manufactured parts. Call one of our certified technicians at (678) 778-8890 or contact us online for more information.