Fluids and lubricants rank among the most neglected items when it comes to basic auto care. Community car care events held throughout the country found that the top three fluids most likely to be low or contaminated are windshield washer fluid in 26% of inspected vehicles, followed by engine oil at 23% and coolant at 19%.
Windshield washer fluid keeps dirt and debris from collecting on a vehicle's windshield, allowing the driver full visibility and making it an essential safety item. Washer fluid should be checked monthly and drivers should use a fluid that is specifically formulated for their climate.
Engine oil lubricates the moving parts of a vehicle's engine, helping keep the engine clean and preventing wear and overheating. Neglecting to change a vehicle's oil can lead to costly repairs, including replacement. Engine oil levels should be checked frequently and changed per the owner's manual.
Coolant absorbs heat from the engine and dissipates it through the radiator, and heat exchanger. Because coolant breaks down over time, neglecting it can lead to corrosion, rust, and the overheating of the engine. Flushing and replacing coolant every 6 to 12 months, depending on climate, will help prevent costly repairs.