What you need to know about car fluids

by By Latashni Gobi Nathan (latagn@sph.com.sg)
published on 20 June 2016

It is known that your car has several fluids that help to operate and keep it running smoothly.

Amongst these are your car’s fuel, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid. Brands like Exxon Mobil provide quality car fluids that ensure your car gets the power it needs.

When it comes to fuel, how you drive affects your fuel consumption.

Here are some key pointers in helping you make the most of your fuel.

Tyre pressure

According to the US Department of Energy, adjusting your car’s tyre pressure can help to increase your car’s fuel efficiency. Low tyre pressures cause the car to work harder to move.

Purchase a tyre pressure gauge to help monitor when you need to increase the pressure.

Reduce air-conditioning usage

Most drivers tend to turn on their air-conditioners the moment they step into the car. As much as you can, turn off the air-conditioning in your car and wind down your windows on a cool day. You car will use up less fuel.

Get proper maintenance

Your car works best when it is sent for maintenance regularly according to the car’s requirements. If it is not tuned up properly, the engine will need more fuel to power and run the car. Check with your car dealers how often you should send your car for servicing.

Reduce the weight in your car

According to the US Department of Energy, every 45kg load in your boot can increase fuel consumption by 2 per cent.

Clear out any unnecessary items and keep your car as light as possible.

Know your destination

Should you need to go to multiple destinations, plan out a route that has the least distance. Doing this may cut your fuel usage in half.

You should also avoid driving in peak hours as well as the constant start-and-stop motion affects fuel consumption.

How often should you change your car fluids?

Engine oil

The engine oil is what powers your vehicle. The oil helps to reduce friction between engine parts when they move against each other to produce energy to move your car.

It is recommended to check on your engine oil level at least once a month.

Transmission fluid

This works in almost the same way as your engine oil but is inside the machinery. This fluid should generally be red and not smell burnt. Check on this on a monthly basis.


This liquid prevent your car from overheating. Located in the radiator, the coolant level can be checked by removing the radiator cap when the car is not running.

Should you need to top up the coolant liquid, ensure that you use the same brand. This can generally be checked on once every six months.

Brake fluid

The brake fluid, like the transmission fluid, is part of a closed system, so it should never run low.

While braking, if you feel like it is a little rougher or harder to brake, or if it is not golden colour but brown, it is time to change it. Check on it every six months.