How can I check my fluid levels and how often should I check them service FAQ in Seattle, WA
Subaru check fluid levels and how often service FAQ

How do I Monitor the Fluid Levels on my Subaru? Your Service FAQs, Answered at Carter Subaru Ballard

Get your fluid level questions answered

Gasoline is easy - just pump it in the tank and go. But there are a variety of other fluids that keep your car running properly, from engine oil and brake fluid to transmission and power steering fluids. And unlike gas, these fluids involve a little more work than just pumping them into a tank. By monitoring your fluid levels and colors, you'll get a great picture of the overall condition of your vehicle! Below, we'll give you some tips for monitoring your fluids and how to know when it's time to get the professionals involved.

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How to Check Your Oil Level and Condition:

A visual check of your engine oil is a smart way to make sure the engine oil hasn't been contaminated and that you have enough oil in the system.

Begin by removing the dipstick and wiping it clean. Simply pulling it out may not give you an accurate reading, due to movement of the oil the last time the vehicle was driven. Wipe the dipstick and insert it again all the way, then remove it. You'll notice a fill line on the dipstick. If the oil level is too far from the top fill line, you'll need an oil change. Its color should be some type of translucent brown. If it looks downright black, it should be changed. If it looks opaque, tan and frothy, your engine oil has become contaminated - check our other FAQ page for information on what this means, and what you can do next.

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How to Monitor your Other Engine Fluids:

Transmission fluid is rated for extremely long service life. As long as it's changed before it reaches the service interval indicated in your owner's manual, you won't need to worry about your transmission fluid. It's the same with your power steering fluid. Just ensure your vehicle receives all its major milestone service on time. Your Subaru service advisor will handle the rest!

Your brake fluid is one that you can check yourself. You'll find the brake master cylinder and the brake fluid reservoir under the hood and toward the driver's seat. You can check the brake fluid level just by looking at the indicator line on the reservoir - if it's low, it'll need to be topped off. You may also want to use a brake fluid tester to test for the presence of water. Most brake fluids absorb water vapor from the atmosphere. Water has a lower boiling point than brake fluid. If enough water gets in the brake fluid, your brake fluid can boil under heavy braking! Gas is more compressible than liquid, which means brake fluid that boils won't put effective pressure on your brakes.

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Finally, you can keep an eye on your coolant level. If the coolant level is low, you could just top it off - but since the system is totally closed, the level should only be low if there is a leak in the system. That's something you should have addressed by a professional. You can also get a sample of coolant from the overflow reservoir, and inspect it for debris. If you notice flakes in the coolant, you might just need a coolant flush and fill. You also might have rust forming in the radiator or problems with gaskets or the water pump.

If you need any assistance, turn to the friendly, factory-trained experts at your local Subaru dealer. Carter Subaru Ballard is your local dealership in Seattle and serving Redmond.

Carter Subaru Ballard

5201 Leary Ave NW
Directions Seattle, WA 98107

  • Sales: (206) 782-7475
  • Service: (877) 835-5240
  • Parts: (877) 884-0162
  1. Carter Subaru Ballard

    5201 Leary Ave NW
    Seattle, WA 98107

    • Sales: (888) 843-2701

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