Fluid Break Down, What Happens, and Its Effects
Cars are complex machines. Similar to humans, cars are a large system of interconnected parts. When one of those parts doesn't work it can mess up the system as a whole. Therefore, all of those parts need to be in pristine condition for the system to function.
Some of the most important components that can get overlooked in a car are your fluids. The fluids in your car typically include your power steering fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, differential fluid, and even your windshield washer fluid. After a certain amount of time, most of these fluids break down. This can cause premature damage to your vehicles components.
Lubricants and fluids in your car's components are the lifeblood of your vehicle. Clean fluids at the proper levels ensure that your car works properly. Maintaining fluids increases your vehicle's performance and safety. Regular maintenance of your car's fluids will help keep repair costs down.
Fluid Break Down
Engine oil works as a lubricant for most of the parts in the engine, making sure all the parts work smoothly, without friction. Over time, heat and condensation from the engine breaks down the engine oil, which coats the engine components in contaminants and sludge. This can cause your lubricant to become thick and reduce its ability to be pumped/transfer heat and properly lubricate all components.
Since the oil is also used to keep the engine clean, many times it itself will become dirty. Additives like detergents, and dispersants bring dirt and contaminants which are filtered by your oil filter. Eventually, the oil filter will become clogged, and all the contaminants will be sent back through the engine, making the oil more like a thick contaminated smoothie. That's not good. Instead of lubricating your engine, this could cause engine damage, and make it more difficult for engine performance, taking in more gas, therefore increasing your gas bill.
The main job of transmission fluid, put broadly, is to keep the transmission functioning optimally. Transmission fluid lubricates the gears in the transmission, dissipates heat, keeping normal fluid pressure, preventing rust, preventing oxidation, and conditioning the seals and gaskets. Over time, as the fluid is exposed to more and more heat, it breaks down quicker, and begins to produce debris that would typically break down the transmission fluid.
Fluid contamination can cause the transmission to overheat, decrease shifting quality, difficulty getting a gear to engage, and transmission slipping. Servicing this fluid on a regular basis will help the transmission last for as long as possible.
Cars that use internal combustion engines burn gasoline to produce power allowing the car to drive forwards and backwards. However, many times there is energy leftover from that process which is converted into heat. Without regulation the engine can wear down, or, in the worst circumstances, components may begin to melt. Coolant acts as the cooling/antifreeze system for your engine, making sure all your engine components are staying at normal operating temperature.
Typically, coolant will break down over time into glycolic and formic acids as it is used to cool the engine. Over time, as it becomes more acidic, it also loses protection in freezing weather, which can cause corrosion in the radiator, water pump, thermostat, radiator cap, hoses and other parts of the cooling system. However, maintaining engine coolant on a service interval will help protect components and keep down high repair costs.
Whenever you press the brake pedal you're essentially forcing fluid pressure to brake components which allows you to control the stopping capability of your vehicle.
Brake fluids have an additive package which contains antioxidants, and corrosion inhibitors. The additive package will begin to break down from being used, and/or being exposed to heat and air produced by the braking system of your vehicle. Once this happens metal parts/rubber hoses in the braking system can corrode and fill the brake fluid with contaminants decreasing the quality of your braking performance.
The power steering fluid isn't purely oil. It has additives that work to maintain viscosity in the power steering system, holding the oil's integrity, and prevent foaming. Similarly to brake fluid, power steering fluid acts as a multiplier on your steering wheel making it easier for you to steer.
After being used for a certain amount of time the additives in the power steering fluid will begin to lessen in effectiveness, causing foaming, thinning the fluid, and wearing down the power steering system which can easily be avoided by getting a regular fluid exchange.
Take Care of Your Car!
All of these problems can easily be prevented by doing fluid exchanges on recommended service intervals. We are happy to do a fluid change service to make sure your vehicle is running smoothly. Schedule your appointment today to ensure your vehicle is in peak condition. Remember to stay safe!