Three Types Of Lubricants That Help Keep Your Car’s Drive Train In Top Shape

You may already know that getting your motor vehicle's engine oil changed regularly is wise. Two other important lubricants to keep an eye on are the transmission and power steering fluids. Below is brief explanation of these three lubricants and how they help keep the motor, transmission and the power steering system running efficiently.  

Motor Oil

Motor oil is the lifeblood of an engine. Yes, the engine needs gasoline to actually run, but the oil keeps all those valves and other moving parts in good working order. The oil not only provides lubrication, it helps prevent rust by keeping oxygen away from the metal. The oil filter picks up dirt and other particles that sometimes get into gasoline. Keeping your engine oil at the correct level is so important that most vehicle manufacturers put a warning light on the dashboard. If it lights, your best bet is to get to a service station ASAP. If the engine oil gets too low, your engine may seize and stop running altogether. That usually results in an expensive repair bill.  

Transmission Fluid

Automatic transmissions use hydraulic fluid to operate efficiently. Motor oil and transmission fluid are both usually added in reservoirs under the hood. The transmission fluid is usually a pinkish color so it's easier to distinguish from the motor oil.  A torque converter pressurizes the fluid and pushes it into the transmission housing. The fluid lubricates the various gears and links in the housing and keeps them from overheating. Transmission fluid occasionally needs changing or topping off. If the fluid levels get too low, the car will usually hesitate when put into gear. It's best to take care of the problem at the first sign of trouble to avoid more serious transmission problems.

Power Steering Fluid

Before the invention of power steering, turning the steering wheel of even the smallest car required a lot more effort. The power steering's rotary-vane pump provides the power that assists the driver whenever the steering wheel is turned. Hydraulic power steering fluid moves into the correct input valve shaft, depending on whether a right or left turn is made. The pump is connected to the engine by a belt, which keeps the vanes inside the pump moving. When the engine is off, the vanes are still, making the steering wheel harder to turn. When the power steering fluid is low or dirty, the vanes don't turn effectively, also making the steering wheel difficult to turn. One early warning sign of low or dirty fluid is often a noticeable screeching sound whenever you try and turn the wheel.