Your vehicle’s engine is a complex machine that requires ongoing maintenance to keep it running smoothly.  One important maintenance task that should never be ignored is to stay on top of your vehicle fluids.  Each unique vehicle fluid may follow a different maintenance schedule, and this month’s blog we highlight the timeframes for fluid replacements for your oil, brake fluid, power steering, coolant, and transmission.  In addition to fluid replacement, you should be checking and/or replenishing fluids on a regular basis within the vehicle systems.

Motor Oil

Motor oil is the lifeblood of your engine.  It keeps your engine parts lubricated, helps to regulate temperature, and cleans as it circulates throughout the engine.  The frequency of oil changes really depends on the type of oil you are using, your overall vehicle health, and your driving habits.  If you use a conventional oil, you will require more frequent changes than a synthetic oil.  A good measure for conventional oil is to change it every 3,000 – 5,000 miles driven.  Of course, in between changes, you should be checking the level and the color and viscosity of the oil.  Dirty oil will become thick and dark in color.  If you use a synthetic oil, you can go up to 10,000 – 12,000 miles driven between changes.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is a vital component of your braking system, providing hydraulic pressure within the brake lines to help the function of your braking components.  Brake fluid levels often change because of a leak somewhere in the lines.  It is advisable to check the brake fluid every six months and look for any signs of low brake fluid.  If the brake fluid is low, you may experience a soft pedal or diminished braking performance.  Brake fluid typically needs to be replaced every 20,000 miles driven, or two years.

Power Steering Fluid

When you use your steering wheel in a turn, you are being assisted by power steering fluid.   Power steering fluid provides hydraulic power to the steering system to make steering easier for the driver.  Like other fluids, aged power steering fluid is darker in color, and may indicate the need for a change.  Most drivers never consider this important fluid, until they notice problems with their steering.  If the power steering fluid is low, it may be much more difficult to turn the vehicle, or you may hear loud noises coming from the steering pump.  Replacement timeframes for power steering fluid vary by vehicle and manufacturer.  It is advisable to consult with your owner’s manual for the specific replacement timeframe for this important fluid.


If you have ever had your engine overheat, you understand the importance of coolant maintenance.  Coolant is a fluid that helps to regulate the temperature of the engine and components.  When coolant levels are low, your engine can heat up quickly and overheat and ultimately can cause severe damage to your engine.  You should check your coolant levels every three to six months.  A coolant flush is typically something you want to have done every two years, or 20,000 miles driven.

Transmission Fluid

Your vehicle’s transmission fluid is essential for lubrication and temperature control within your transmission.  Transmission fluid is oftentimes low because of a system leak.  If you do a lot of driving and/or towing, you will want to check your transmission fluid every three to six months.  Fluid replacement varies on the type of transmission and some newer vehicles may never require a fluid replacement because the fluid is sealed inside the system.   A general rule of thumb on transmission fluid replacement is every 50,000 miles driven.

As with many maintenance routines, you should always consult your vehicle owner’s manual for specifics.  Checking fluid levels regularly, and following replacement schedules will help to extend the life of your vehicle.  If you are interested in a fluid maintenance plan, contact the service professionals at Campus Repair to schedule an appointment.