All those automotive fluids can be confusing for St. Peter drivers. Recent years have brought new grades of engine oil, types of transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid. The right fluid protects your vehicle and helps it perform at its best. The wrong fluid won’t work as well and could even cause damage.
In addition to new grades of engine oil, many vehicles now leave the factory with synthetic oil. People in St. Peter should always use the grade recommended by their manufacturer.
All coolant, also called antifreeze, used to be green. Now there are several other colors of coolant sold at Autotronics of St. Peter in St. Peter. Each type is designed to protect the cooling system components that are particular to your vehicle. The wrong stuff can void your vehicle cooling system warranty and could even cause engine damage.
Most passenger vehicles on St. Peter roads today use either DOT 3, DOT 4 or DOT 5 brake fluid. Your vehicle power brake system is specifically designed to use ONE of these types – you need the right one. Higher numbers do not necessarily mean a higher, upgraded fluid.
Now, the thing is knowing that your vehicle requires specific grades and types of fluids; using the right fluid is good and using the wrong ones is bad. Once you’ve got that down, it’s easy to remember to check with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Autotronics of St. Peter or your vehicle owner’s manual to find out which automotive fluids to use.
If you’ve walked through the automotive fluids of an auto parts store in Cleveland, you’ll know how overwhelming the sheer number of products available can be. How do you know what’s right for your vehicle?
As you know, these fluids all serve a function in making your car run as you drive around the Cleveland area. Your vehicle manufacturer has specified a particular type of fluid for every system from the motor, to the cooling system, brake fluid and so on. When you realize that not every variation is applicable to your vehicle, the task becomes more manageable.
First let’s talk about why there are so many varieties. Starting with motor oil, we see that manufacturers match the properties of a particular weight or type of oil with the design needs of the engine. For example, engines with sophisticated valve trains often require a thinner weight of oil.
Some vehicles around Cleveland come from the factory filled with synthetic oil and the recommendation to use it for life. The safe bet is to always use what the factory recommends. The recommendation is what’s been proven to work in function and durability tests. The recommended oil is also a factor in determining oil change interval schedules.
A good quality oil has more additives that are engineered to clean and protect the engine. They cost a bit more, but are worth the extra protection. If you buy budget oil, you might want to consider shortening your oil change interval.
Sometimes fluids are developed specifically to meet the needs of a particular family of engines. An example would be coolant. Because of the different materials used to build the cooling system, the coolant has to be formulated to protect those parts, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from corrosion. We’ve seen special coolant in Cleveland for General Motors, Volkswagen, Chrysler and others.
The same is true of transmission fluid and brake fluid in recent years.
The really good news is that your Cleveland service center has databases that tell them the recommended fluids for your vehicle. This takes all the guess work out. If you have some special needs, like a higher mileage engine or want enhanced performance, ask your service advisor for upgrades or additives that’ll meet your needs while being consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Of course, your full-service oil change will top off your fluids. But it’s a good idea to have some of everything at home in case you need to top something off yourself or to take on a trip. Ask your Cleveland service advisor at Autotronics of ST Peter or check your owner’s manual for fluid specifications.
It’s important to know that there are national warranty laws that say that a manufacturer cannot require you to use their brand of fluid to maintain your warranty. That said, there are two things that may affect your warranty.
Using the wrong type of fluid may void the warranty. Going back to radiator coolant, the correct type protects against corrosion and the wrong type will not. So it’s important to be right.
Also some warranty protections are conditioned on taking care of scheduled preventive maintenance. Please review your warranty if you have questions.
St. Peter car owners’ current vehicles have over a century of engineering behind them. They have evolved into complex and powerful machines. Developments in their engines, however, have coincided with advances in many other vehicle components, including the fluids.
It’s vital for St. Peter motorists to always use the right type of fluid for their minivan. Your service advisor and your owner’s manual are resources for auto advice on exactly what types of fluid your vehicle needs. Improper fluids can damage your vehicle and void your warranty.
Some of the fluids that have changed significantly in recent years are cooling system fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and motor oil. Each of these comes in many varieties now, and it’s essential to know exactly which one your minivan needs.
Cooling systems were once made of iron, steel and rubber. One coolant could be used to protect all of these materials. But new cooling systems have components made from a variety of metal alloys and several kinds of plastic, and coolants now contain additives that protect these various materials from corrosion. Since the materials vary among auto manufacturers, they require different additives, which means there are now a number of coolants on the market. The type of coolant your minivan needs depends on the materials used in its cooling system.
Most vehicles used to require Dot 3 brake fluid. But now many vehicles need Dot 4 or Dot 5. Some St. Peter motorists mistakenly think the higher numbers reflect an increase in grade—that Dot 4 is somehow better than Dot 3. But the truth is, the numbers represent variations in formulation. The different formulas have evolved to meet the demands of newer and better brake systems. For a long time, transmission fluid came in two varieties: regular and friction-modified. But transmissions have come a long way recently, and so have the fluids that protect and lubricate them. There are several new types of fluid on the market, but your minivan is designed for just one of them.
Of all the automotive fluids, motor oils have experienced perhaps the greatest advances in engineering and technology. A number of new weights and formulations have recently been developed to meet the needs of modern engines, which have more parts and tighter tolerances than ever before. Engines have become more sophisticated and complicated, but they have also increased in power and fuel efficiency. Despite these changes, St. Peter auto owners still need them to be highly durable.
That’s the job of motor oil. Motor oil still has to perform its original, critical function—lubricating and protecting the engine. It is formulated to help clean the engine as well. Modern motor oil also has to be thin enough to penetrate small engine passages yet still be resistant to vaporization.
Specialized motor oils have also been developed for high-mileage vehicles. If your minivan has 75,000 miles or more on it, you might consider switching to one of these motor oils. They contain extra detergents that help clean older engines and vital additives that condition seals and gaskets that can become brittle with age. High-mileage motor oils come in weights and types just like regular motor oils, and St. Peter motorists should match the proper weight and type of high-mileage oil to their vehicle in the same way you would regular motor oil.
Over time, vehicles have developed in complexity and variety, and their fluids have developed as well. Each vehicle is matched to a set of fluids that meet its specific requirements. MN vehicle owners should take care to learn their minivan’s fluid requirements before topping off at home. A large part of preventive maintenance for St. Peter drivers is making sure your vehicle’s fluids are clean and adequate, but they must be the proper type as well. As our minivans become more sophisticated, car care becomes more sophisticated as well.
Learning about proper fluids for your vehicle will help you maintain its performance and prolong its life. Talk to us at Autotronics of ST Peter in St. Peter.