For many drivers, vehicle maintenance means fixing flat tires and getting gas when the gauge is on “E”. However, your vehicle needs more attention than that. Proper lubrication of several systems is also key to good operation. Here are five lubricants that are essential to the good health of your car, truck, or SUV.
Engine oil manages temperatures and reduces wear, extending the life of your engine. There are lots of different recommendations about how frequently to change your oil, but the best way to decide how often to change your oil is to review an objective set of guidelines that will factor in your unique situation, then stick with the results it gives you.
A vehicle’s transmission is an incredibly complex mechanism. It involves high speeds and lots of friction, which means proper lubrication is essential. Transmission provides smooth shifting of gears while also keeping parts lubricated and cool. Low transmission can destroy your transmission in a matter of miles, so it is important to check levels periodically and to call a mechanic immediately if you see low levels or leaks.
We think of cars as big, rigid objects, but they actually do a great deal of flexing. The suspension provides enough movement to keep your ride smooth and comfortable, but it can quickly turn squeaky and stiff without proper lubrication. There are grease fittings at various locations on the car that are used to add lubrication from time to time so that those flexing joints remain smooth and corrosion-free.
Doors & Hatches
This might be the area that the passive auto owner pays the most attention to. After all, squeaky doors and hatches are obvious and annoying, and even the least mechanical among us can usually deal with the problem. Remember that the driver’s door opens and closes thousands of times every year. Lack of lubrication will cause latches and hinges to wear, then rust, then warp, resulting in poor closure.
This one is a little different. Most modern fuel pumps are positioned inside the gas tank to maximize their efficiency. While you’ll never have to open the tank and add grease or fluid to a fuel pump, you actually will lubricate the fuel pump with each fill-up. Keeping at least a quarter tank of gas at all times will ensure adequate cooling of the fuel pump, extending its life.
Proper care of a vehicle means paying attention to preventive maintenance. A major part of maintenance is the various lubricants that keep moving parts in good condition. Understanding their role will help your vehicle stay healthy and efficient.