Using Proper Fluids In Your minivan Or Other Vehicle

Today Crystal Collision Center is talking about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It’s become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It’s not that people in MN are confused as much as they don’t realize how much things have changed in recent years.

If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to stop by Crystal Collision Center. You can find us on 5108 West Broadway Ave in Crystal, MN 55429.
Just give us a call at 763.533.0412

Let’s take engine oil. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.

It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it’s cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a heavier weight oil would be used in the summer. The thicker oil wouldn’t thin out too much in the summer heat and vaporize in the engine.

Modern valve trains have become very complicated with more moving parts and small passages than ever before. The valve train is in the top of the engine, so when the car has been turned off for a while, the oil tends to run down to lower areas and the valve train parts are vulnerable at start-up, before the oil starts circulating.

So new weights of oil have been introduced to meet the engineering specifications of these newer engines.

Manufacturers are recommending specific weights of oil. The recommendation is often printed on the oil fill cap. It’s certainly in the owner’s manual. Of course, your Crystal MN auto service center can look it up for you.

It’s more important than ever to have the correct weight of oil. The wrong weight could actually harm the engine.

Other fluids are also becoming more sophisticated. In the last few years new types of transmission, power brake fluid and coolant have all been introduced for some of the same reasons as for engine oil.

In addition, vehicle manufacturers are now using a wider variety of materials in these systems. Looking at the cooling system as an example, it used to be that the parts were all made out of steel or iron and the hoses were rubber. Now, some parts are plastic, aluminum or other materials.

So the anti-corrosion additives contained in the coolant, or anti-freeze, need to be different in order to protect the different materials used to make the cooling system. If you use the wrong coolant that wasn’t formulated to protect your plastic cooling system parts, they could become corroded and fail. And if you’re using the wrong coolant, your cooling system won’t be covered under warrantee. So it’s important to use the right coolant and to not mix different types.

Your owner’s manual or your Crystal MN service advisor at Crystal Collision Center can make sure you’re using the right type. You may have heard of universal coolant. Universal, or global, coolant can be added to other types without harmful reactions. That’s OK for an emergency top off, but following your manufacturer’s recommendation for your minivan or other auto type is always a safe bet.

In the area of brake fluid, there are a couple of new formulations. It’s important to remember that the new ones aren’t better than the old ones. They’re just different formulations for different vehicles. So if your vehicle calls for DOT 3, using DOT 4 or DOT 5 is not an upgrade. Use the recommended formula.

There are fluid formulations for vehicles with higher mileage. These are special engine oil, transmission fluid, and so on that contain additives to condition and restore seals and gaskets in older engines.

They’re fine to use as long as they’re a variant of the proper fluid. In other words you can use a high mileage engine oil as long as it’s also the correct weight recommended by the manufacturer. Same goes for transmission fluid; as long as it’s the right type for your transmission.

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The Right Automotive Fluids For Saint Paul Drivers

What grade of oil should I use?

All those automotive fluids can be confusing for Saint Paul car owners. Recent years have brought new grades of engine oil, types of transmission fluid, coolant, and brake fluid. The right fluid protects your vehicle and helps it perform at its best. The wrong fluid won’t work as well for Crystal car owners and could even cause damage.

In addition to new grades of engine oil, many minivans now leave the factory with synthetic oil. Saint Paul car owners should always use the recommended grade and type of oil in their engine.

All coolant, also called antifreeze, used to be green. Now there are several other colors of coolant sold at Crystal Collision Center in Crystal. Each type is designed to protect the cooling system components that are particular to your vehicle. The wrong stuff can void your minivan cooling system warranty and could even cause engine damage.

Most passenger vehicles on Crystal roads today use either DOT 3, DOT 4 or DOT 5 brake fluid. Your minivan power brake system is specifically designed to use ONE of these types – you need the right one. Higher numbers do not necessarily mean a higher, upgraded fluid.

Now, the key thing is knowing that your vehicle requires specific grades and types of fluids and that using the right fluids is good and using the wrong ones is bad. Once you’ve got that down, it’s easy to remember to check with your helpful Crystal Collision Center tech or minivan owner’s manual to find out which automotive fluids to use.

Give us a call

Crystal Collision Center
763.533.0412
5108 West Broadway Ave
Crystal, MN 55429

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Automobile Fluids For Your minivan

If you’ve walked through the automotive fluids of an auto parts store in Saint Paul, you’ll know how overwhelming the sheer number of products available can be. How do you know what’s right for your vehicle?

As you know, these fluids all serve a function in making your car run as you drive around the Saint Paul area. Your vehicle manufacturer has specified a particular type of fluid for every system from the motor, to the cooling system, brake fluid and so on. When you realize that not every variation is applicable to your vehicle, the task becomes more manageable.

First let’s talk about why there are so many varieties. Starting with motor oil, we see that manufacturers match the properties of a particular weight or type of oil with the design needs of the engine. For example, engines with sophisticated valve trains often require a thinner weight of oil.

Some vehicles around Saint Paul come from the factory filled with synthetic oil and the recommendation to use it for life. The safe bet is to always use what the factory recommends. The recommendation is what’s been proven to work in function and durability tests. The recommended oil is also a factor in determining oil change interval schedules.

Crystal MN Auto Fluids A good quality oil has more additives that are engineered to clean and protect the engine. They cost a bit more, but are worth the extra protection. If you buy budget oil, you might want to consider shortening your oil change interval.

Sometimes fluids are developed specifically to meet the needs of a particular family of engines. An example would be coolant. Because of the different materials used to build the cooling system, the coolant has to be formulated to protect those parts, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from corrosion. We’ve seen special coolant in Saint Paul for General Motors, Volkswagen, Chrysler and others.

The same is true of transmission fluid and brake fluid in recent years.

The really good news is that your Saint Paul service center has databases that tell them the recommended fluids for your vehicle. This takes all the guess work out. If you have some special needs, like a higher mileage engine or want enhanced performance, ask your service advisor for upgrades or additives that’ll meet your needs while being consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Of course, your full-service oil change will top off your fluids. But it’s a good idea to have some of everything at home in case you need to top something off yourself or to take on a trip. Ask your Saint Paul service advisor at Crystal Collision Center or check your owner’s manual for fluid specifications.

It’s important to know that there are national warranty laws that say that a manufacturer cannot require you to use their brand of fluid to maintain your warranty. That said, there are two things that may affect your warranty.

Using the wrong type of fluid may void the warranty. Going back to radiator coolant, the correct type protects against corrosion and the wrong type will not. So it’s important to be right.

Also some warranty protections are conditioned on taking care of scheduled preventive maintenance. Please review your warranty if you have questions.

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Proper Fluids for Your Vehicle

The automotive professionals at Crystal Collision Center would like to give Crystal auto owners an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, cars are becoming more sophisticated everyday – and fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.

The Saint Paul do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many MN car owners rely on the advice of their helpful Crystal Collision Center service specialist to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their car and their driving habits.

Let’s start with engine oil. Hopkins auto owners who have been paying attention, will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the MN scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. The car makers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Crystal service center will know what weight your manufacturer recommends – and it’s important to follow those recommendations. Your service specialist at Crystal Collision Center can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can tell you all about conventional and synthetic oils.

Antifreeze,
or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, car makers only recommended a couple of different types of coolant. Now, several different formulations are needed because of the high-tech materials that car makers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant can actually void your warranty, so you want to get that right.

Transmission fluid is becoming specialized as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that require specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.

Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your Crystal house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids you need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more. Fortunately, Crystal Collision Center will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you’ll get the right fluids your car needs. It’s all part of the commitment we make to your driving peace of mind.

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