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How to check your car’s fluid levels

can't see brake fluid level

Rob Keenan is the interim digital editor of
He runs a Mk2 Ford Focus ST and an ageing Mercedes SLK55
Find him on Twitter @zorba_t_greek

When did you last check your car’s fluids? If it's the engine oil, coolant, screenwash and brake fluid, you should be lifting the bonnet once a week and either taking a look at the level on the side of the container or using the supplied dipstick, depending on the type of fluid.

Every Haynes Manual shows you how to carry out fluid level checks on your car, including how to top up the level, which specification to use (particularly important when adding engine oil and brake fluid) and, when you renew the fluid, how much to use.

Want a refresher on which fluids you'll find under your bonnet?

Other types of fluid, such as power steering and gearbox oil, don't need to be checked so often. However, it's always wise to check them every few months and certainly when you service the car.

Also keep an eye on the ground where the car is parked - whether that's in a garage, on a driveway or on the road outside. Any fresh drops of fluid should be investigated straight away.

Ready to pop the bonnet? Take a look at the video below and read the Fluid Level Checks section of our Home Mechanics Guides, which also gives you an idea of how much the different fluids cost per litre.

Watch this video to see how to check your car’s fluids

Every Haynes manual shows you how to check your vehicle's fluid levels in easy-to-follow steps