From one end to the other, your vehicle requires various fluids to keep systems operating properly. With so many different types of contraptions and fluid types, how can you tell what fluid goes where?
Let’s break it down:
You will normally find the recommended engine oil type printed right on the oil filler cap of the engine. If it’s not there, take a look inside of the owner’s manual or check with your local parts store. Your other choices include conventional oil, synthetic oil, or a blend of the two. Conventional is cheaper, synthetic is the most expensive but it doubles your service interval, and the blend – well, avoid the blends.
There are a ton of new transmission fluid types on the market as of late. Virtually every automaker has a specific transmission fluid type, and each new model year seems to come with yet another. Double check the fluid type and capacity before you buy. Again, you can opt for conventional fluid or synthetic but I would recommend that you stick with whatever type of fluid came in the vehicle from the factory. Automatic transmissions use ATF, as do some manual transmissions. Other manual gearboxes use gear lube or a dedicated lubricant. There are also some manufacturer’s that recommend adding a fluid conditioner or friction modifier.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid is typically just hydraulic fluid. Some vehicles use one type of transmission fluid or another and others use clear hydraulic fluid. Other manufacturers use a dedicated type of fluid that carries their brand.
Most vehicles use DOT3 brake fluid in the brake and clutch master cylinders. The recommended fluid type is usually stamped on the lid of the master cylinder in question.
Also called “rear-end dope” differential lube is offered in conventional and synthetic formulas. Varying weights require that you check the tag on the unit to determine the proper formula.
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