CARS.COM — Can brake fluid go bad? Indeed it can, and you might not be able to tell if it has just by looking.
Most cars have see-through reservoirs for brake fluid under the hood so that owners can check at a glance to make sure it’s at the proper level. That, however, tells you nothing about the condition of the fluid.
Brake fluid absorbs water over time, particularly in areas with high humidity, when moisture seeps through rubber hoses and seals. Water reduces the boiling point of brake fluid, and in situations that put high demands on your brakes — such as mountain driving, towing or making repeated hard stops — the fluid can become so hot that it impairs stopping ability or causes temporary loss of braking power.
Ok, so you haven’t washed your car since disco was king. But you get your oil changed, replace old parts, and keep it running like new. So what’s the big deal? It’s just dirt right?
Well, a filthy car can be more than just smelly. It might actually be damaging your ride…and your wallet!
Dirt Can Hurt
One way or the other, your car’s going to get dirty. So what happens if you don’t wash it off (besides kids writing “Wash Me” on it)?
Dirt build up can act like sandpaper, wearing down and weakening the paint.
Dirt can mix with rain and other pollutants, etching paint right off.
Other things, like sap and bird droppings will ruin your paint even faster.
Why is Paint so Important?
The color of your car is a big deal. It might define your personality (lime green? Must be a
- Is the vehicle 4 Wheel Drive? if so does it work properly?
- Do you have a clean Carfax?
- Has it ever been repainted?
- Are there any signs of smoking or pets?
- Do all the windows and locks work?
- Do all of the lights, wipers and stereo work?
- Do the turn signals and cruise control work?
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For the majority of travelers, heading home for the holidays involves hitting the road. That translates to crowded highways. Winter storms, too, can make holiday driving challenging as can fellow drivers who may have overindulged in the spiked egg nog at the season office party.
So if you’re planning on taking a road trip for the upcoming holidays, follow these smart tips from experts.
Coddle your car
“Every few months, and especially before a long trip, it is necessary to check your car’s fluid levels,” says Chip Wade, a safety expert for Liberty Mutual Insurance. “Coolant, brake, automatic transmission, oil, power steering, and windshield washer fluids are the biggies. Even if it’s not quite time to refill, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
-Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
-Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
-Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
-Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
-Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
-If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
-Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
-Always look and steer where you want to go.