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How often should you change your vehicle’s fluids

Hand holding a lid of Vehicle engine opened showing up Fluids

Your vehicle’s fluid levels are the lifeblood of your car. Fluids lubricate and cool the engine, and they support your vehicle’s major systems. Leaks or a failure to change your car fluids can have catastrophic consequences. Here are some of the essential fluids in your car and when you should change them.

Motor oil

Motor oil lubricates the engine’s pistons, valves and other moving parts, reducing friction and preventing your engine from overheating. If you’re using standard or synthetic blend oil, you should get an oil change at about 5,000 kilometres. If you use full synthetic oil, you can wait until you reach 8,000 kilometres. If your driving consists of many stops and starts, or if you drive in extreme cold, then your oil changes should be more frequent.


The coolant absorbs heat as it’s pumped through the engine. Without it, your motor would burn up. However, coolant deteriorates over time and becomes acidic, eating away at parts of the cooling system. Therefore, you need a coolant flush as part of your regular vehicle maintenance. Long-life coolant lasts up to five years or 250,000 kilometres.

Check your coolant level between flushes and top up when needed. When adding coolant, use the same coolant that’s already in your car.

Transmission fluid

Transmission oil lubricates the metal parts inside your car’s gearbox and prevents them from grinding down. The fluid also provides pressure and friction for automatic vehicles to shift gears quickly. Your vehicle’s transmission fluid doesn’t require changing as often as other car fluids. You should get a transmission fluid replacement every two or three years, depending on the make and model and whether your car’s transmission is automatic or manual.

Brake fluid

Brake fluid creates pressure in the hydraulic braking system to work the components that stop your car when you step on the brake pedal. The average vehicle needs a brake fluid change every two years or 20,000 kilometres, but check your owner’s manual to be sure. Brake fluid absorbs moisture and becomes corrosive over time, potentially ruining your brake parts if not changed.

Power steering fluid

Power steering fluid fills the hydraulic hoses connecting the steering wheel with the front wheels. It makes turning more manageable and also lubricates the steering parts. Typically, you should change your power steering fluid approximately every 125,000 kilometres.

Car fluid checks and oil change service in British Columbia and Alberta

At Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres, our technicians check all your fluids during a maintenance tune-up and will tell you if they need changing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our 15 convenient locations.


Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres Address Common Issues

Here at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres in British Columbia, we’re always pleased to help our customers get the most out of their cars and trucks. To that end, we’ll add a relevant blog topic from time to time to keep you up to date and getting the most out of your vehicle.