Everyone who owns a vehicle knows of the importance of getting regular oil changes. Over time, oil breaks down and is less effective at lubricating and cooling down your engine, which can lead to wear-and-tear on engine components. Many people, however, forget to take into account the many other fluids that help to keep your engine running as it should. So what other fluids does your car have, and what can happen if they aren’t taken care of with regular maintenance?

What Types of Fluids Does Your Vehicle Have?

The different fluids in your vehicle play a vital role in almost every aspect of your engine’s performance, from fuel efficiency to its overall longevity. Ensuring that your fluids are always kept full and clean will help your engine operate better and last longer. Here is a list of the most essential fluids in your vehicle, what they do, and what can happen if they are allowed to get too dirty or too low.

  • Radiator Fluid
    Your vehicle’s radiator is responsible for helping to keep the engine cool by absorbing excess heat. It does this with a fluid known as antifreeze or coolant. Antifreeze also helps to lubricate the water pump and protect your engine against corrosion. When antifreeze levels get too low, your engine can overheat, which can cause significant damage to major components
  • Transmission Fluid
    Much like oil for your engine, transmission fluid helps to lubricate and cool your transmission so that it can operate smoothly and efficiently. Dirty transmission fluid can lead to rough shifting, missing gears when accelerating, decreased fuel efficiency, and uncontrolled revving that make driving difficult.
  • Brake Fluid
    An integral part of your braking system, brake fluid transfers the pressure from your brake pedal to create the force necessary to slow down and stop your vehicle. Over time, brake fluid can become contaminated with moisture and dirt or dust, which decrease the performance of your braking system.
  • A/C System
    Your A/C system works by putting a liquid refrigerant under varying amounts of pressure, forcing it to change states between gas and liquid in order to capture and then release heat from the cabin of your vehicle. Over time, the refrigerant becomes dirty and the level can get low, causing your A/C system to not work as well as it used to.
  • Differential Fluid
    Differentials are responsible for working with your transmission to transfer your engine’s power to the axle that turn your wheels. If you have a vehicle with four wheel drive, it will likely be equipped with two differentials. The fluid inside of the differential helps to transfer heat away from the internal gears, helping to preserve its life and performance. Over time, the fluid will break down and can become contaminated. This decreases the differential’s ability to function properly, and can impact its longevity.
  • Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF)
    Modern diesel engines are equipped to use DEF, which helps to reduce emissions from these vehicles and make them more environmentally friendly. Much like gasoline or diesel, DEF is a consumable fluid, which means that it has to be replenished frequently. Letting the fluid get low causes reduced engine power, and if allowed to run out, will limit your speed to just 5 mph until it is refilled.
  • Transfer Case Fluid
    A transfer case is a special gearbox that all four wheel drive and some all wheel drive vehicles are equipped with. It helps to transfer power to the front differential to drive the front axle. Much like with the differential and transmission, transfer case fluid helps lubricate and cool the gears inside of the case. Dirty or low fluid will cause excess wear and tear to the gears, decreasing the transfer case’s efficiency and longevity.

How Often do Fluids Need to be Changed?

Just as with your oil, all of these fluids need to be topped off when low, and changed on a regular basis. Each manufacturer recommends these fluids be changed at different times based on the vehicle model. Everytime you stop by your neighborhood Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Jiffy Lube®, your technician will check your fluid levels, and also look to see if your manufacturer recommends any fluid flushes based on your mileage.

The Signature Service® Difference

We believe in going the extra mile when it comes to helping you maintain your vehicle. That’s why, with every Jiffy Lube Signature Service® Oil Change, we provide complimentary fluid top-off service on your vital fluids. This includes the same motor oil purchased at your last oil change, as well as transmission, power steering, differential, transfer case, and washer fluids. Just stop by at your neighborhood location anytime within 3,000 miles of your oil change, and we will top off up to two quarts per fluid as needed.

Jiffy Lube® recommends following manufacturer recommendations, where applicable, for maintenance schedules and service intervals.

Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube® location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube® service center for specific services offered.