Earning Your Auto Mechanic Certification? 4 Helpful Fluid Refill Tips

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The human body wouldn’t function very well without blood, would it? Not to sound the alarm bells, but the same metaphor could be applied to a vehicle and the many fluids it relies on to operate. 

Without brake fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, radiator fluid and other essential solvents, vehicles simply wouldn’t be able to move. Each fluid serves a different function, whether it’s cooling the engine, preventing wear and tear of components, or washing away dirt and debris.

If you’re considering a career as an auto mechanic, part of your job will involve performing preventative maintenance on the vehicles that enter your shop. Understanding what to look out for when replacing key fluids will help you to ensure that vehicles are refilled correctly. Below, discover four helpful tips for replacing different types of essential vehicle fluids.

Exercise Caution When Replacing Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is vital for switching gears in both manual and automatic vehicles. While in manual vehicles, it serves to lubricate the gears and prevent wear and tear due to heat, it facilitates the switching of the gears in an automatic system. 

There’s no set mileage range which indicates that it’s time for a transmission fluid replacement, as it differs with the type of vehicle and fluid used. However, transmission fluid will need to be changed when there are strange noises coming from the gearbox, or if shifting feels stiffer than normal. Additionally, if the fluid appears dark or contains debris, that’s also a sign that it’s time for a change. 

When changing transmission fluid after car mechanic training, remove the dipstick, clean it and then insert it again to check the level of fluid. When refilling, be careful not to overfill, as this can lead to serious transmission trouble.

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After car mechanic training, be careful not to overfill the transmission fluid

What to Look Out for When Adding Radiator Fluid

Radiator fluid, also known as coolant, is responsible for cooling a vehicle off, absorbing heat and using cooling fans to disperse it. Without it, engines are prone to overheating, making it essential to refill radiator fluid periodically. 

After earning your auto mechanic certification, it’s important to take a few precautions during this procedure. For one, you’ll want to make sure that the engine is almost completely cooled. Because you’ll be removing the cap from the radiator in order to refill the coolant, cooling the engine prior to removal will avoid injury from pressurized gas when opening the cap. After checking the level of fluid inside the radiator, you can refill the coolant to the level indicated by the markings.

Check the Power Steering Fluid 

Power steering fluid is essential in reducing the amount of force to turn the steering wheel, allowing the movement to be easily translated to the front tires. Power steering fluid is stored in a fluid-filled reservoir, from which it’s transferred to a pump to facilitate steering. 

When the reservoir gets low, your first step will be to identify the right type of power steering fluid to refill the vehicle with. Depending on the vehicle, the type of power steering fluid may differ, so it’s important to consult the owner’s manual prior to filling. Lastly, it’s important to avoid overfilling the power steering fluid reservoir, as this can cause leaks.

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Check what type of power steering fluid a vehicle needs before refilling

After Car Mechanic Training, Replace Engine Oil at the Right Time

The engine oil cools the engine and lubricates its components to prevent corrosion and remove debris. While refilling it is a relatively simple process–including removing and wiping the dipstick and filling it up to the mark–it’s important to ensure that the oil is being changed at the right time. 

Each manufacturer or vehicle type will have different requirements when it comes to replacing engine oil, and it’s important to stick to their recommended schedule. Before changing the oil, make sure to check with vehicle owners about the last time they had their oil changed.

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