The Importance of Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

The Importance of Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Advancements in automotive technology have also led to the development of high-tech automotive fluids. One example of this is the cooling system. For decades, the cooling system was primarily made from iron, steel, and rubber hoses. There was only one kind of coolant available to protect the system’s components from corrosion. 

Fast forward to today. Late-model vehicles’ cooling system components are manufactured using various types of metal alloys and plastics. Unsurprisingly, these materials need different types of additives in the coolant to help protect them from corrosion—and since materials vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, there are several different kinds of coolant on the market. 

Understanding the Advancements in Automotive Fluids

Since coolant contains different additives that offer protection for specific materials, it’s important to use the right type. If you add the wrong kind of coolant, it won’t protect the cooling system—and in some cases, it may even void your warranty! If you think you might have used the wrong fluid, it’s best to play it safe. Bring your vehicle to the shop, and our technicians can flush the system and give it a fresh start with the right fluid. 

Brake fluid is another automotive fluid that can cause confusion. In the past, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid; now there’s Dot 4 and Dot 5. Despite what some people think, these new additions aren’t upgrades—they’re completely different formulations specifically designed to meet the needs of different brake systems. Just like coolant, only one type of brake fluid is recommended for your vehicle. 

Transmission fluid also has different formulations designed to meet the advanced needs of modern automatic transmissions. However, nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident than in motor oil. There’s now a variety of formulations and weights manufactured specifically to meet the demands of modern engines. 

A large part of this is due to the fact that modern engines contain more parts and have tighter tolerances than engines of the past. With each passing year, engines are designed to be more powerful and fuel-efficient. This means the oil they use must be formulated to lubricate, clean, and protect more parts while being thin enough to travel through smaller passageways—while also being resistant to vaporization. 

If your vehicle came from the factory with synthetic fluids, it’s important to use synthetics when you have your vehicle serviced. Your service intervals will be based on synthetic fluid intervals, rather than conventional fluid intervals. 

Keep Your Fluids in Check at EuroCar Service

Each type of fluid plays an important role in the way your vehicle functions. Since the grades of oil and types of coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, you should always take care to use the correct fluid if you top your fluids off at home. The wrong fluids can cause damage, so check your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor if you’re unsure about what to use. 

If you’re not comfortable checking or topping off your fluids yourself, EuroCar Service is always here to help! We see all European makes, including AudiFiatBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvo, and Smart Car. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online

Radiator Fans and Your Vehicle’s Cooling System

Radiator Fans and Your
Vehicle’s Cooling System

Introduction: If you’re old enough to have been around cars a few decades ago, you’ve probably heard the term “fan belt” tossed around. Back in the day, the radiator fan in your vehicle was turned by a belt driven by the engine. While those belt-driven fans are still found in some vehicles today, most modern cars have transitioned to electric fans. 

The Basics of Cooling

As your vehicle’s engine runs, it generates a significant amount of heat; this is where the cooling system comes into play to prevent overheating. Coolant (also called antifreeze) circulates through the cooling system and captures heat from the engine. The coolant then flows into the radiator, where air cools both the radiator and the coolant before returning it to the engine to absorb more heat. The key is to keep the engine within an ideal temperature range–not too hot and not too cool.

In today’s vehicles, electric radiator fans play a pivotal role in helping to keep your engine at the optimal temperature. A switch, strategically placed within the cooling system, continuously monitors the coolant’s temperature. When the coolant’s temperature hovers at the lower end of the safe range, the switch turns off the fan motor. However, as the coolant temperature rises, the switch springs into action, turning on the fan to cool things down.

Many modern vehicles are equipped with two radiator fans. Depending on various conditions, one or both fans may be operating at any given time. When cruising at highway speeds, the rush of air over the radiator and around the engine naturally helps in controlling heat. On the flip side, city driving with frequent stops and starts doesn’t offer the same natural airflow, so radiator fans have to work overtime to maintain the optimal temperature.

Air Conditioning and Radiator Fans

If you’ve ever wondered why your radiator fan seems to be working harder when you’re using the air conditioning, here’s the answer: when you engage the A/C, it adds an extra load to the engine, generating more heat. To counter this, the radiator fan often kicks in to dissipate the extra heat created by the air conditioner, ensuring your engine doesn’t overheat under the added strain.

Maintenance Matters

Now, here’s a crucial point to remember–radiator fan motors and the switch are wear-and-tear items. Over time, they will eventually fail. If you ever find your temperature light coming on while driving, it’s likely due to a cooling system issue. At this point, it’s essential to schedule a cooling system inspection. Regular servicing will not only keep your engine running smoothly but also extend the lifespan of all the cooling system components.

Radiator fans may not be the most glamorous part of your vehicle, but they’re essential for maintaining the health of your engine. If you suspect an issue with your cooling system or are due for maintenance, schedule an appointment at EuroCar Service! We specialize in complete care for European makes, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Mini-Cooper, Fiat, Volvo, Volkswagen, Saab, Jaguar, and Smart Car

Schedule an appointment with us today at (206) 527-8828, or request an appointment through our online form.