For most consumers, a car is their second biggest investment, yet many treat their vehicle about the same as their washing machine or other appliance(s). They don't worry about it until something goes wrong.
It's not uncommon for people to use the wrong fluid(s) in their cars, and if they do, the results can vary from irritating to deadly for both the car and the occupants.
A British health study found that filling the coolant reservoir with only water creates a good breeding ground for the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease.
Here's what else could happen if you use the wrong fluids:
1. Engine oil slip-ups. The viscosity grade (0W-20, for example) of engine oil is very important. Use only what the owner's manual specifies. Using the wrong oil can lead to reduced lubrication and shorter engine life. If the manual says to use synthetic oil, do so. Contrary to what some believe, adding synthetic oil to regular oil won't harm the engine, but there's also no benefit in doing so.
2. Battery fluid. Some car batteries have accessible individual cells that might need replenishing with a little water to cover the lead plates. Only use distilled water, which contains no salts or minerals. If tap water is added to a battery's electrolyte liquid, it can allow minerals from the water to build up on the battery's internal lead plates, which will reduce the battery's power and shorten its life.
3. Be moderate with the water in 'Coolant Mix'. A car's cooling system uses a blend of water and antifreeze; properly called coolant, at concentrations (typically 50/50) designed to keep it from freezing on a cold day and boiling on a hot one. Adding too much water to the mix can make it more susceptible to freezing and boiling. That can keep the car from starting when it's freezing and cause overheating in warmer weather. Tap water could also lead to mineral buildup in the cooling system, reducing its effectiveness.
4. Special sauce for your brakes. Brake systems use hydraulic fluid that's specially formulated for the purpose. Substituting transmission or power-steering fluid, which are similar to each other, can affect the seals, damage the system, and possibly cause brake failure. Note that if the brake fluid is low, your vehicle probably needs brake-system service anyway. Either the brakes are worn or there's a leak.
5. Glued-up gears. Automatic transmissions must only use the fluid specified by the automaker, such as General Motors' Dexron series or Toyota's Type T. Using the wrong fluid can cause poor lubrication, overheating, and possibly transmission failure. A mechanic might not be able to reverse the damage, even by flushing the transmission. Mistakenly adding motor oil or brake fluid can also destroy your transmission.
6. More washer-fluid cautions. In addition to creating the perfect environment for deadly bacteria, water doesn't clean as well as washer fluid does and is subject to freezing. Using household glass cleaners or ammonia can leave suds on the windshield, damage a car's finish, and get into the air-intake system and create a potentially noxious environment in the cabin.
Having car problems? Then worry no more. Feel free to contact us anytime and our team of experts and mechanics will attend to your needs.
Come back to Mr Parts blog next week for more news, consumer advice, opinions and details on the best car parts for your make and model. Visit us at www.mrparts.ng for advice or to see our product range with your own eyes
(Credit to: www.ConsumerReports.org - Consumer Reports, www.machinerylubrication.com - Noria news wires )