Niagara Gazette


November 14, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Severe and normal service recommendations for fluids in your car


Niagara Gazette — Follow the Normal Service application if you drive at least 20 miles each day at highway speeds, never go off-road, never or rarely load or work the vehicle and/or do not tow trailers or use snowplows.

Engine coolant

Engine coolant courses through the cooling system of the engine absorbing and transferring heat from the engine’s combustion chambers to the radiator where it is cooled and re-circulated back into the engine to repeat the process. Engine coolant has formulated into it chemical packages that inhibit rust & scale buildup, lubricate water pumps, protect against freeze up and absorb heat from the engine to transfer it to the radiator to where the heat is dissipated. Leaving the engine coolant in the engine too long, operating the engine in an overheated condition and/or working the engine extremely hard can and does result in breakdown of the coolant’s chemical properties, thus leaving the engine unprotected from freeze up, allowing rust & scale buildup in the cooling system, excessive friction & wear of the water pump and ineffective engine cooling.

Follow the Severe Service application if you tow a trailer, drive frequently in stop-and-go traffic, idle long periods of time, use a snow plow, haul heavy loads and load the vehicle frequently, drive off-road regularly, essentially you work the vehicle hard. All these conditions contribute to engine coolant breakdown and thus loss of cooling system protection for your engine.

Follow the Normal Service application if you drive at least 20 miles each day at highway speeds, always warm the engine to operating temperature, never or rarely load the vehicle, never go off-road or do not tow trailers or use snowplows.

Power steering fluid

Power steering fluid is the medium by which power assisted steering is achieved. The system consists of a pump and fluid reservoir, lines and a power steering gear. The pump creates hydraulic pressure from pumping the fluid, which hydraulically powers the steering gear making steering a vehicle easy for anyone, regardless of his or her stature & strength. On most vehicles, power steering fluid does not show up in the maintenance schedule and thus there are no severe or normal service recommendations for power steering fluid, the only suggestion I have here is to check it every oil change, inspecting closely for evidence of metal flakes indicating steering gear or pump wear or a black or dark color indicating overheating of the fluid and thus need for replacement and system inspection.

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