While most cars are serviced every 5,000 miles to 10,000 miles, the fluids in your vehicle need more frequent attention. If you do not keep an eye on fluid levels, certain fluids may get too low, which can lead to breakdowns and even engine failure. In this guide, we'll provide an overview of the fluids that go in your car and show you how to monitor and refill them.

Brake Fluid Exchange Services

The braking system of your vehicle contains four brake rotors, which the brake pads clamp down on to bring your vehicle to a stop. This process requires a great amount of pressure that drivers can't produce just by pressing down on the brake pedal. This is why vehicles use brake fluid to apply the pressure for us. It converts the energy we use to push down on the pedal into the force needed to squeeze the four brake rotors. 

If your car shows any of the following signs, it may be time to check your brake fluid:

·     You have to press the pedal down all the way: When stopping your car, if you have to press the pedal all the way to the floor or nearly all the way, you probably have low brake fluid. 

·     You have to pump the pedal multiple times: If you find yourself pumping the brake pedal more than once to stop your vehicle, low brake fluid is likely the culprit. 

·     There's a leak under your car: If the underside of your car is leaking and leaving a slick, clear-to-brown spot, this can be a sign of low break fluid.

To check brake fluid levels, the first thing you want to do is raise your hood and find your brake fluid reservoir. It is typically located on top of the master cylinder in the back of the engine compartment on the driver's side. Cars usually have a plastic translucent reservoir with two level markings. If your brake fluid is between these two markings, the level is good and no action is necessary. If it is at or below the low marking, you should have your brake system inspected right away. 

Power Steering Fluid Exchange Services

Power steering fluid is essential to your steering system, as it enables you to turn the steering wheel effectively. Over time, debris, dirt and weakened components can contaminate the fluid. For this reason, it's important to have your power steering fluid routinely flushed. If you neglect this service, your pump may have to work harder, causing it to wear out prematurely. 

Cleaning or flushing your power steering fluid can improve steering performance and efficiency. It can also help prevent leaks in the future, which may help you avoid expensive repairs. One of the signs of low power steering fluid is a leak that is amber- or clear-colored and has a burnt marshmallow smell. Other signs of low steering fluid include:

·     Steering is more difficult.

·     Steering isn't as responsive.

·     You hear sounds when turning the wheel.

·     You've passed the replacement interval recommended by your car's manufacturer. 

Follow the steps below to check your steering fluid:

1.   Remove dipstick: If your fluid reservoir is a part of the pump, take off the dipstick. Take a cloth and wipe it clean. 

2.   Check fluid level: Put the dipstick back in the reservoir, then take it out and take a look at the fluid level. It should be between the two markings. 

3.   Add fluid if necessary: Sometimes there are two sets of markings, one set for if the fluid is cold, the other set for if it's hot. If your level is below or close to the lower marking, add fluid until it reaches the appropriate upper marking.

Engine Coolant and Engine Oil Exchange Services


Engine coolant, also known as antifreeze, benefits your engine in several ways. It prevents your engine from freezing up during the winter, it raises the coolant's boiling point during the summer and keeps your engine from corroding and rusting throughout the year. 

To inspect the level of your engine coolant, you first want to ensure your engine is not running and that it is cold. Then, open the hood and find the reservoir for your coolant recovery system. This tends to be located in a plastic translucent container mounted on an inner fender panel or close to the radiator. Molded into the reservoir are two markings, the upper for hot and lower for cold. If your fluid is below the lower one, refill the coolant up to the line - but not past it. 

Engine oil lubricates, cools and cleans the moving parts of an engine. Without oil, an engine can be badly damaged, which is why it is so important not to miss oil changes

To check your oil level, first, make sure that your engine is cold and not running. Then, pop the hood, take the oil dipstick from its tube and clean it using a cloth. Insert the dipstick back into the tube, remove it again and check the oil level. It should be between the two level markings. If it's at or under the low marking, add oil until the level hits the upper marking. Generally speaking, a single quart of oil will push the level from the bottom to the top marking.

Transmission Fluid Exchange Services

Transmission fluid serves to lubricate, clean and cool the inner parts of your transmission. It is also important for helping maintain the hydraulic pressure needed for the transmission to work properly.

Generally, having your transmission flushed every couple of years is enough, although in certain cases, you may want to have it flushed sooner. For instance, if you hear your transmission making unusual noises such as grinding, you may need a transmission flush soon. Other warning signs include:

·     You're having problems shifting gears.

·     Your gears are slipping.

·     Your vehicle is surging.

·     There is a delay in the movement of your vehicle. 

To check your transmission fluid levels, keep your engine idling to get your transmission to full operating temperature. Don't forget to apply your foot brake and set your parking brake. Then:

1.   Cycle the shifter: Cycle your shifter through each gear position, stopping on each position for a few seconds. 

2.   Put the transmission in park or neutral: Your owner's manual should specify whether you should use park or neutral. 

3.   Check the transmission fluid level: From here on, the directions are the same as checking your engine oil level. There's just one difference - the distance between the top and bottom level marks on your dipstick is generally equal to one pint of fluid. 

Radiator Fluid Exchange Services

An engine reduces heat, lubricates the water pump and protects itself from corrosion by circulating coolant through the engine and radiator. This cooling system is also used to heat your passenger cabin. If the cooling system in your vehicle isn't working properly, your engine's temperature can get high enough to cause damage. Properly maintaining the engine cooling system helps to maximize the longevity and performance of the engine.

Windshield Washer Fluid Exchange Services

All modern cars come with plastic translucent reservoirs for washer fluid. If your windshield washer fluid is low, just take off the cap and fill up the reservoir. In the summertime, make sure to use bug-removing fluid, and if you live in a region where temperatures go below freezing, use a fluid with antifreeze properties during the winter. 

It's always a good idea to top off your windshield washer fluid if you're about to go on a long trip or drive in inclement weather. You should also carry an extra container of fluid in your car, just to be prepared. If you ever run out of fluid when it's raining or snowing, you'll be glad you have it. 

Contact Hoffman Ford for Fluid Level Exchange Services

If you live in or around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and need any of the above fluids changed, choose Hoffman Ford for the best Ford service in the region. Whether you have a car, SUV or truck, we can provide the fluid level exchange services you need. Schedule aservice with us today. 


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