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Gasoline Isn't the Only Fluid Motorists Should Focus On

2 October 2000

Gasoline Isn't the Only Fluid Motorists Should Focus On; Do-It-Yourself Skills Come in Handy During October's Car Care Month

    LOS ANGELES--Oct. 2, 2000--With record high gasoline prices making headlines this year, motorists need to remember the other critical fluids their vehicles use to operate properly.
    With today's self-serve gas stations, sometimes the only way to ensure vehicle fluids get the attention they require is for motorists to do it themselves, said Ed Lindsay, the Auto Club's approved auto repair program manager.
    "Maintaining correct fluid levels is inexpensive," said Lindsay. "However, low fluid levels and improper maintenance can make driving more costly and shorten the life of the engine."
    To help consumers check the condition of critical fluids used by their vehicles, the Auto Club offers the following facts during October's "Car Care Month":

-- The most common fluids are engine oil; coolant; transmission fluid; brake fluid and power steering fluid.
-- Today's new vehicles can safely go longer between oil changes; but change the oil if it's been more than six months or 5,000 miles since the last change.
-- Transmission fluid in automatic transmissions should be checked with the engine running.
-- Always wipe away grit and grime before opening the cap on the brake fluid reservoir. Debris in brake fluid can clog brake lines and cause brake failure.
-- Radiator coolant is now available in non-toxic formulas, which are safer for use around pets or young children. Check the vehicle's owner's manual to verify. Always check the coolant level with the engine cold.
-- If motorists hear a buzzing noise when turning the steering wheel, it could mean low power steering fluid.

    To help motorists find reliable mechanics, the Auto Club has certified more than 700 independent vehicle repair shops in Southern California as "Approved Auto Repair" (AAR) facilities. These auto shops, displaying the Auto Club's logo, undergo regular inspections and must maintain rigorous standards of service, use quality repair equipment and employ properly trained technicians. To find the nearest AAR facility, visit on the Internet or a local Auto Club office.