It is well-known that the better care you take of something, the longer it will likely last. As a car owner, part of taking care of your car is ensuring that all the fluids are at the proper levels. But to do that, you need to know what fluids are in your car. Keep reading to find out.


Robert Walden is the Head of Marketing at, a website that shares helpful information for car buyers and sellers.

The Top Four Most Important Fluids

    1. Engine oil- Engine oil lubricates the pistons, bearings, valves, gears, and other mechanisms inside your engine. It regulates your engine’s temperature to keep it healthy.

    2. Transmission fluid- Transmission fluid lubricates the gears, bearings, and other mechanisms inside your transmission, which is your car’s gearbox. If you think of a bicycle and how you oil the chain to keep the gears lubricated, that’s what transmission fluid does for your car.

    3. Engine coolant- Engine coolant lubricates your water pump, which circulates water from the radiator to the motor. It’s crucial for protecting your car from overheating.

    4. Power steering fluid- Power steering fluid lubricates your power steering pump, which is the mechanism that allows you to operate your steering wheel without having to use too much effort. Without power steering or power steering fluid to lubricate it, you would have to put significant effort into operating your steering wheel.

Keep These Fluids At Safe Levels

    1. Engine Oil- The first and one of the most important fluids in a car is engine oil. This helps lubricate all the moving metal components within the engine and helps evenly disperse the heat.

    Engine oil [also] helps pull away any dirt particles or metal flakes from inside the engine. These build up over time as the engine wears. This is why it is important to change your oil [regularly].

    2. Engine Coolant- The next fluid is the engine coolant. This is pumped through the engine block, helping to keep the engine cool by pulling heat away from the engine. The hot coolant is then pumped to a radiator, where the heat disperses and turns the coolant cold, ready to be pumped around the engine again.

    3. Brake Fluid- Another fluid is the brake fluid. This fluid is part of a pressurized system that makes it much easier for us to press the brake pedal.

    4. Power Steering Fluid- The final main fluid is the power steering fluid. This, again, is part of a pressurized system that makes it much easier for us to turn the steering wheel. Without it, the steering wheel would be immensely heavy and hard to turn.

Other fluids that cars need include gas to power the vehicle and refrigerant, which is used in our air conditioning systems.



Patrick McCann is the owner and editor of



Arnold Chapman, Founder, and CEO of

Each of These Fluids Has its Role

1. Windshield Washer Fluid
The washer fluid helps [keep] your windshield clean and clear. It helps you drive safely without visual obstruction. Make sure to check it as often as you use your windshield wiper. If you use your wiper often, check it every time you get gas.

2. Brake Fluid and Power Steering Fluid
Within your master cylinder, your brake plunger is activated if you step on your brake pedal. The brake fluid is [then] pushed out of its reservoir by the pressure. As a result, your brake pads slow your car. It’s almost the same for your power steering fluid. Without the brake fluid and power steering fluid, your vehicle would be difficult to drive.

3. Coolant
Your coolant, more commonly known as antifreeze, keeps your engine cool. It also keeps your engine from freezing during colder temperatures. The coolant also helps prevent deposits, foam, and corrosion from forming. To make sure that your antifreeze is working, test for

    ● Acidity
    ● Freezing Protection
    ● Boil Protection

It’s also advisable if you check for any signs of leaks and rust.

4. Transmission Fluid
The transmission fluid is the fluid that lubricates and cools different parts of your car. It chills and greases the gears, valves, and clutches. If it’s low, you’ll have difficulty shifting your vehicle. Your transmission fluid needs to be replaced every 100,000 miles. It’s advisable to check it at least once a year.

5. Engine Oil
The engine oil makes sure that the different engine parts can move smoothly. It’s the most important fluid in your vehicle. If you have low or no engine oil in your car, it can result in massive damage. Have your engine oil changed every 3,000 miles.

Multiple Fluids With Important Jobs

There are many fluids in a car that serve many purposes. First is your fuel. Typically, this is gasoline, but it can be diesel or other fuel types. Internal combustion engines burn fuel to create power.

The next fluid is motor oil. This is mainly used to reduce friction inside the motor from the metal parts rubbing against each other. It comes in many different weights and should be used by manufacturers’ specifications.

One of the next most important fluids is coolant. This is a water antifreeze mix that is used to cool the engine. The coolant goes through the engine block and back to the radiator, where the air is used to cool the coolant before returning to the engine block.

Under the hood of the car, you will also find brake fluid. The brake master cylinder creates pressure, forcing the calipers in your brakes against your brake rotors to stop your vehicle.

In most vehicles, you will also find power steering fluid. It is used by your power steering pump to assist in turning your vehicle.

Next, in your transmission, you will find automatic transmission fluid, if you have an automatic transmission. It is used to lubricate the transmission and create hydraulic pressure to shift gears in the transmission. If you have a manual transmission, you will most likely have gear oil in your transmission, which is heavy-weight gear oil.

If you have a rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle, you will probably have gear oil in there. It may have certain friction modifiers added if your differential is limited slip.

Most vehicles will have windshield washer fluid for cleaning your windshield.

Certain late-model diesel also uses DEF or diesel exhaust fluid as part of the emissions system to clean the exhaust before it goes out to the atmosphere.


Ben Fulcher, Owner of

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors’ statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.

Schedule a zero-commitment appointment
to get the help you need, fast.

Vehicle Tips

7 Signs of a Failing Engine

7 Signs of a Failing Engine

Engine failure, especially out of the blue, can be scary. It can put a wrench in your plans if driving somewhere important and depending on the problem, can be expensive to fix. Thankfully, there are lots of warning signs that can signal you when your engine is about to fail.

How to Replace Your Vehicle’s Outer Tie Rod Ends

How to Replace Your Vehicle’s Outer Tie Rod Ends

The outer tie rod ends are one of the more important parts of your vehicle’s steering system. While you may not choose to replace the outer tie rod ends yourself, it is good to be able to recognize what they are and see if they need replacing.

Why do tires go flat in cold weather?

Why do tires go flat in cold weather?

Have you noticed an increase in flat tires during the frigid winter months? There’s a reason for it. Keep reading for some simple explanations as to why tires seem to go flat when temperatures drop.

What to Do (and Not Do) When Your Brakes Fail

What to Do (and Not Do) When Your Brakes Fail

When your vehicle is functioning properly, it’s easy to forget how dangerous driving can be. However, it only takes a moment for an important component to malfunction. Suddenly your car has your full attention. One of the worst situations to find yourself in as a driver is to press the brake pedal only to realize that it is not working.