Keep It Clean – It Pays Off!
March 14th, 2016
There’s nothing like driving a car that’s just been washed and waxed, with a nice, clean, freshly-detailed interior. It’s a spring-cleaning ritual for many drivers, getting out there and enjoying the nice weather while getting their vehicle looking great. Wax and polish help protect your car’s finish from the sun’s rays and from rain, grime and road grit…and a clean undercarriage helps ward off corrosion.
You shouldn’t just stop there, though. Other parts of your vehicle need to be kept in clean condition, too. Several of your car’s assemblies rely on clean fluid for lubrication and proper operation, and these fluids all tend to become contaminated over time:
· Motor oil: The byproducts of combustion and normal operation mean that your vehicle’s motor oil will become full of carbon, acids, water droplets, metal particles and other contaminants that reduce its effectiveness as a lubricant. If left too long, it will accelerate wear and begin to accumulate as sludgy deposits on valve components, bearings and other internal parts.
· Coolant: “Coolant” is a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water; the antifreeze lowers the freezing point and raises the boiling point to protect the engine against temperature extremes. It also contains anti-corrosion agents and other additives, but will start to break down over time and allow corrosion and damage in the system. Coolant should be bright green (or sometimes orange or pink) and shouldn’t show any traces of rust or contamination.
· Transmission fluid (ATF): ATF cools and lubricates the internal parts of an automatic transmission, as well as helping to transmit torque through the unit. Heat is the enemy of ATF, however, and too many cycles of heating/cooling starts to break down its effectiveness. Dirty, worn ATF will allow varnish-like deposits to accumulate, accelerating wear. ATF should be magenta-colored, with a sharp odor; once it starts to take on a brownish tint and a burnt-toast smell, it should be changed soon before transmission damage occurs.
· Brake fluid: While brake fluid is generally good for a long time, it also attracts and retains moisture. Water droplets in the brake fluid can lead to corrosion of brake parts, and can reduce braking effectiveness by “boiling off” during hard brake applications and leading to air bubbles in the brake lines. Brake fluid should be yellowish and clear, and free of dirt or corrosion particles.
· Power steering fluid: While some car makers have gone to electric power steering, many still use a hydraulic system with a pump and lines. Power steering fluid can degrade and pick up metal and plastic fragments – while it’s usually good for many years, it’s also a good idea to check its condition from time to time.
Take care of your car, and it’ll take care of you. At Goodyear of Buckhead, we’ve got ASE-certified technicians on staff to help you do just that, and our reputation is backed by the strength of the Goodyear Tire & Service Network. Give us a call, make an appointment and let us help make sure your car’s just as clean on the inside as it is outside!