Check your oil every month. Change it every five thousand miles. Have your tires rotated while you are at it. These examples of common recommendations for routine vehicle maintenance are a piece of the maintenance puzzle. There are also belts and filters and other fluids to consider. Just glance through your owner’s manual and you will find an entire section dedicated to maintaining your car, truck, or SUV. And there may be even more maintenance items that are not included in the manual’s list.
Of course, you are already familiar with some of the maintenance services for your vehicle. At least, you (hopefully) have kept your engine oil fresh, your tires topped off with air, and maybe even your brake pads replaced. And you have probably been offered upgrades for some of these services: special filters, longer-lasting drive belts, or synthetic oil instead of conventional.
You might have even been encouraged to consider a fluid flush (such as a BG Flush Service) for the transmission, brakes, power steering, or cooling system. The owner’s manual doesn’t mention anything about flushing fluids, so is it really necessary?
The systems in your car are designed to work together. But that does not mean that they share the same components or fluids. For instance, the engine and transmission team up to deliver torque to your wheels. But the engine relies on engine oil (also called motor oil) to lubricate its internal moving parts, while the transmission requires its own special oil – transmission fluid. Your brakes use a different hydraulic fluid; your steering, yet another. And other components in the drivetrain, like the differential or transaxle, rely on a separate hydraulic oil altogether.
Every vehicle manufacturer determines when each of the different fluids in all of these systems and components should be replaced. Their recommendations are printed in the owner’s manual. Some fluids (like the engine oil) need to be changed frequently, every 5-7k miles. Others may last more than 100k miles, or even the lifetime of the vehicle.
Now, if you follow the maintenance schedule for your vehicle, you might notice that the manufacturer calls for fluid changes. That means the fluid is drained – from the transmission, engine, cooling system, etc. – the filter is replaced, and fresh fluid is added. For instance, in the case of an oil change, the old oil is drained from the oil pan underneath the car, the old oil filter is exchanged with a new one, and new oil is installed.
This type of service is common and may be adequate for your vehicle. But there are times when you might want more than “adequate”.
The added benefit of flushing the fluids
Sometimes it is a good idea to go above and beyond what is required.
Of course, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for routine maintenance is critical for keeping your car running as it should for the long haul. In many cases, it is also required for maintaining the vehicle’s warranty. But those recommendations are really the minimum requirements. There is nothing that says you cannot do more for your car.
You might be instructed to replace the oil every five thousand miles, but, if you drive in harsh conditions, you might instead opt to change it more frequently. Erring on the side of caution will not harm your engine. Same goes for replacing your conventional oil with synthetic oil. Synthetics hold several advantages over conventional oils, and they will not hurt your car either. In the same way, some manufacturers suggest that their transmission fluid should last the lifetime of the vehicle. But that does not take into consideration all driving conditions that you might subject your vehicle to. Changing the transmission fluid regularly might be a good option for some vehicles.
Fluid flushes fall into the same category. Some advanced services that are a benefit to your car are not mentioned in the manual because they are not required. But they are beneficial.
Where a fluid change involves draining the old fluid and refilling with new, a fluid flush is more thorough and more involved. A fluid flush entails connecting the component (say, the cooling system) to a machine that forces fluid through the entire system, replacing all of the fluid and removing foreign matter, such as dirt, debris, and water. It is more effective than simply draining the old fluid.
A cooling system flush replaces all of the coolant, not just that in the radiator and hoses. A transmission flush replaces all the trans fluid, including that in the torque converter (up to half of the volume of fluid). Same goes for other systems. The most common fluid flushes are performed on the cooling system, transmission, power steering, and brakes.
Should you drain and fill or flush?
There is no one-size-fits-all set of instructions for maintenance on every vehicle. The manufacturer recommends changing the fluids in your car. Your mechanic might suggest a fluid flush, such as a BG Fluid Service that will gently clean out foreign matter – varnish, gum, metal debris – far more effectively than can be done through draining. Flushing is not necessary every time the fluids are changed, but it may be substituted periodically for superior performance.
So, what are the results? Optimum performance and longer life. Your fuel mileage is increased, emissions are decreased, and internal components remain free from wear. BG Products are your key to protecting your vehicle. Of course, a fluid flush is more involved and will cost more than a drain and fill procedure. But the benefits may be significant enough to warrant the additional cost when flushing is done occasionally.
This article is intended only as a general guidance document and relying on its material is at your sole risk. By using this general guidance document, you agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto and its affiliates from and against any and all claims, damages, costs and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, arising from or related to your use of this guidance document. To the extent fully permissible under applicable law, Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the information, content, or materials included in this document. This reservation of rights is intended to be only as broad and inclusive as is permitted by the laws of your State of residence.