Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake and windshield washer systems. Because the fluids gradually become depleted and/or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be periodically replenished.
Note: The vehicle must be on level ground when fluid levels are checked
The oil level is checked with a dipstick, which is located on the left (driver’s) side of the engine. The dipstick extends through a metal tube down into the oil pan
The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 15 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will yet to have drained down from the upper part of the engine, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
Pull the dipstick out of the tube and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back into the tube and pull it out again. Note the oil at the end of the dipstick. At its highest point, the level should be above the MIN mark, within the hatched marked section of the dipstick. If it isn’t, add enough oil to bring the level to near the MAX mark (it takes one quart of oil to raise the level from the lower to upper mark)
It takes one quart of oil to raise the level from the MIN mark to the MAX mark on the dipstick. Do not allow the level to drop below the MIN mark or oil starvation may cause engine damage. Conversely, overfilling the engine (adding oil above the MAX mark) may cause oil fouled spark plugs, oil leaks or oil seal failures.
To add oil, remove the filler cap from the valve cover. After adding oil, wait a few minutes to allow the level to stabilize, then pull out the dipstick and check the level again. Add more oil if required. Install the filler cap and tighten it by hand only
Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A consistently low oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, defective gaskets or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky in color or has water droplets in it, the cylinder head gasket(s) may be blown or the head(s) or block may be cracked. The engine should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Whenever you check the oil level, slide your thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed
Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Flush contaminated areas immediately with plenty of water. Don’t store new coolant or leave old coolant lying around where it’s accessible to children or pets – they’re attracted by its sweet smell. Ingestion of even a small amount of coolant can be fatal! Wipe up garage floor and drip pan spills immediately. Keep antifreeze containers covered and repair cooling system leaks as soon as they’re noticed.
All vehicles covered by this manual are equipped with a pressurized coolant recovery system. A plastic expansion tank located at the front of the engine compartment is connected by a hose to the radiator. As the engine heats up during operation, the expanding coolant fills the tank.
The coolant level in the tank should be checked regularly.
Warning: Do not remove the radiator cap or expansion tank cap to check the coolant level when the engine is warm! The level in the tank varies with the temperature of the engine. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be at or slightly above the FULL COLD mark on the reservoir. Once the engine has warmed up, the level should be at or near the FULL HOT mark. If it isn’t, allow the engine to cool, then remove the cap from the tank and add a 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol based antifreeze and water
9a The coolant expansion tank is located on the front of the engine compartment - keep the level near the arrow at the seam
Drive the vehicle and recheck the coolant level. Don’t use rust inhibitors or additives. If only a small amount of coolant is required to bring the system up to the proper level, water can be used. However, repeated additions of water will dilute the antifreeze and water solution. In order to maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, always top up the coolant level with the correct mixture. An empty plastic milk jug or bleach bottle makes an excellent container for mixing coolant
If the coolant level drops consistently, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, filler cap, drain plugs and water pump. If no leaks are noted, have the radiator cap or expansion tank cap pressure tested by a service station
If you have to remove the radiator cap or expansion tank cap wait until the engine has cooled completely, then wrap a thick cloth around the cap and turn it to the first stop (if you’re removing an expansion tank cap, unscrew it slowly, stopping if you hear a hissing noise). If coolant or steam escapes, let the engine cool down longer, then remove the cap
Check the condition of the coolant as well. It should be relatively clear. If it’s brown or rust colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals
The brake fluid level is checked by looking through the plastic reservoir mounted on the master cylinder. The master cylinder is mounted on the front of the power booster unit in the left (driver’s side) rear corner of the engine compartment
15 The brake fluid level should be near the base of the filler neck of the translucent plastic reservoir
If the fluid level is low, wipe the top of the reservoir and the cap with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the system as the cap is unscrewed
Add only the specified brake fluid to the reservoir (refer to your owner’s manual). Mixing different types of brake fluid can damage the system. Fill the reservoir to the MAX line.
Warning: Brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling or pouring it. Do not use brake fluid that has been standing open or is more than one year old. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air, which can cause a dangerous loss of braking effectiveness
While the reservoir cap is off, check the master cylinder reservoir for contamination. If rust deposits, dirt particles or water droplets are present, the system should be drained and refilled by a dealer service department or repair shop
After filling the reservoir to the proper level, make sure the cap is seated to prevent fluid leakage and/or contamination
The fluid level in the master cylinder will drop slightly as the brake shoes or pads at each wheel wear down during normal operation. If the brake fluid level drops consistently, check the entire system for leaks immediately. Examine all brake lines, hoses and connections, along with the calipers, wheel cylinders and master cylinder
When checking the brake fluid level, if you discover one or both reservoirs empty or nearly empty, the entire system should be bled
22 The windshield washer reservoir is located at the left front corner of the engine compartment, next to the battery
In milder climates, plain water can be used in the reservoir, but it should be kept no more than 2/3 full to allow for expansion if the water freezes. In colder climates, use windshield washer system antifreeze, available at any auto parts store, to lower the freezing point of the fluid. Mix the antifreeze with water in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions on the container.
Caution: Do not use cooling system antifreeze - it will damage the vehicle’s paint
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