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Topic # 239807 5-Aug-2018 21:16
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How much fluids does a car consume over a year for each of the different fluids?  

 

 

 

From our experience with a 2004 car, using the specified engine oil 5w40 full synthetic we find about 0.5L at each 6 month oil change.  Ie we put in 4L each time but the last time the drain was 3.5L.  

 

 

 

Re: power steering and brake fluid how much is that?  I read that a car might carry 1L of brake fluid.  I noticed someone's car the power steering fluid reservoir was empty (car drives fine) there is a hole which the dipstick goes inside and that was on the low side.  Have to double check tomorrow as the drive way is up a slope.  Because often, some people don't pay for a garage to do the servicing, they might change the engine oil/filter but the other stuff are not looked at.  The mechanic also might not bother to check the fluids if one just ask for a WOF.  From the people I know, I rarely hear people who buy brake or power steering fluid from Repco.  Often they might get a car from Turners Auctions and they use it for maybe 10yrs, they only change the engine oil/filter and then any other issues that comes up then they take it to the mechanic, brake pads, a squeaky belt etc ... So if the person does not take notice of these fluids after 5 or 10yrs of use how much fluids are consumed?  Also, it is not known cars that come from a NZ caryard or from Japan as an import, how much care those owners did and if they did any top ups or fluid flushes.  

 

 

 

 

 

:) 


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  Reply # 2068359 5-Aug-2018 22:16
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I can't ever remember topping up steering fluid in any car of mine

 

Brake fluid goes down and then when I change the pads, it goes back up again.

 

An acquaintance told me recently he had to top up his subaru steering fluid to eliminate a weird knocking noise.

 

My question was - where did the fluid go? Must be leaking past a seal somewhere.

 

 

 

I accept that in theory these fluids could be accepting moisture from the atmosphere to make up some lost volume but even my oldest cars had properly functioning brakes and steering until the point of scrapping.


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  Reply # 2068381 5-Aug-2018 23:19
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Generally in modern vehicles, the reservoirs are big enough that the consumption / loss rate such that they will last until their scheduled service. (excluding fuel, window washing fluid & exhaust treatment fluid if any that is).

Engine oil is slightly consumed in normal operation, so when it is changed there will be slightly less than there was to start with. (note that in some vehicles, especially DPF fitted diesel's without a post engine injector), fuel can leak into the oil sump, diluting it, but adding to the volume.

Air con refrigerant also leaks out of the pipes, and will need topped up every decade or so. Air leaks out of the tires, and will need topped up more frequently.

Generally the following are only replaced due to age or degradation.
Transmission fluid

 

  • Brake fluid (hydroscopic) - gives impression of dropping level as pads wear.
  • Power steering fluid
  • Engine Coolant
  • Differential Oil(s)
  • Transmission fluid

 

 

Best to avoid purchasing a car that has not been maintained, and to keep fluids in good condition to avoid expensive component failures.


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  Reply # 2068415 5-Aug-2018 23:44
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Petrol also gets into the oil on cold starts.  If car only gets used on short trips, it builds up as the oil never gets hot enough to evaporate the petrol out. Can also hide oil usage.

 

My corolla had a really bad head gasket failure, needed to add more water to the radiator all the time. Eventually got so bad that the engine sometimes became difficult to start due to hydrolocking. Fixed the problem with a 4AGE.






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  Reply # 2073594 14-Aug-2018 23:23
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Scott3:

 

  • Brake fluid (hydroscopic)

 

HyGroscopic.


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  Reply # 2073600 14-Aug-2018 23:30
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It is well worth being aware of when fluids should be changed if you are buying a car.

 

My Range Rover is 11 years old and the transmission fluid should be changed at 10 years or 100,000 miles. The car is a long way off 100,000 miles but has obviously reached 10 years. I asked the dealer whether the transmission had been serviced and the fluid replaced at the 10 year mark. Records indicated that it had not - so they immediately did it, which cost them $650 + GST.

 

Had I not been aware of the requirements, I might have ended up paying that bill at the next service!






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  Reply # 2073601 14-Aug-2018 23:31
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I have only ever had to top up power steering fluid when it was faulty and leaking. Other than that never moved every time I checked it.

 

Oil I would look at occasionally between services but never saw it move outside the ok zone of the dipstick. It would go up and down depending on how long since driven etc but seemed constant.

 

Brake fluid, I look at the line on the thing and its always been fine. They deal with that at service time.

 

Washer fluid - always running out, and always sent it to service with that full otherwise they charge me for the additive when topping up.

 

Coolant, always been fine except when a heater valve started to leak, which I just topped up with water until service time when they fixed it and changed it and took it back to proper concentration. It was getting quite pale but apparantly the old car didnt really have any huge need for it from a corrosion point of view so water was fine while it was leaking.





Richard rich.ms



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  Reply # 2073826 15-Aug-2018 11:25
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Geektastic:

 

so they immediately did it, which cost them $650 + GST.

 

Had I not been aware of the requirements, I might have ended up paying that bill at the next service!

 

 

 

 

That might be dealer price.  I took a VW to a transmission specialist and it was $250 + ~$100 for the scan tool.  The Range Rover might need more fluids but prob not more than $50-100.  The VW / Audi fluids were $25/litre and it needed 4L.  




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  Reply # 2073830 15-Aug-2018 11:29
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richms:

 

I have only ever had to top up power steering fluid when it was faulty and leaking. Other than that never moved every time I checked it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is about right what I hear from people generally.  They get a used car and they never replaced the brake fluid or PS fluid ever and they have had a number of cars in their lifetime.  They do get the annual service and some do the 5yr annual service.  Also same with the transmission - well it doesn't help when with Japanese cars, the transmission dipstick says "lifetime" and it's not part of the service schedule anyway.    These days automatic cars don't have the transmission dipstick.  


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  Reply # 2073844 15-Aug-2018 12:10
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"Lifetime" is a weasel word meaning "until the manufacturer's warranty runs out" or "about as long as the 1st owner keeps the car" whichever is shorter. With a lot of cars having servicing included I wouldn't be surprised if as much as possible was pushed out beyond the 100,000km point.

Brake fluid is often on a 2 or 3 year change interval to get rid of the water it can absorb. Leave it and the various cylinders get corroded then when the seals get pushed back for new linings they get damaged.

Powersteering fluid can get as burnt as transmission fluid. Our car has electric power steering, the US model is hydraulic and has a reputation for being very noisy unless the PS fluid isn't changed every 18 mths.

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  Reply # 2073850 15-Aug-2018 12:19
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Manufactures all specify what the expected consumption of fluids is.

 

Regarding Oil - Most forced induction cars use the engine oil to cool and lubricate components. Like a turbo. These cars do burn off oil slowly and it is normal. My fathers new Audi S4 has in the owners manual that you are to expect around 500ML - 1L of usage between oil changes. My 250,000KM 1999 BMW with a straight six uses ZERO oil between changes. It was still on the full after 10,000KM and 6 months last weekend..






 


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  Reply # 2073875 15-Aug-2018 13:39
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Does your BMW get enough long running to get rid of fuel and condensation in the oil? That can replace burnt oil.

UHD

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  Reply # 2073876 15-Aug-2018 13:53
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Coil:

 

Manufactures all specify what the expected consumption of fluids is.

 

 

Not a lot of help considering the high level of Japanese imports in NZ all of which ship without a manual or it in Japanese.


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  Reply # 2073877 15-Aug-2018 13:56
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Bung: Does your BMW get enough long running to get rid of fuel and condensation in the oil? That can replace burnt oil.

 

 

 

I do 15KM to work then 15km home each day which is enough for the engine oil to reach operating temperature which is 90-100 celcius. (It does this in the first 3KM of driving)

I also abuse the living hell out of my car, pulls to the red line all the time and I am pretty rough in some changes. Still as solid as a tank and have zero issues with mint compression and no engine wear...





 


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  Reply # 2073878 15-Aug-2018 14:00
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UHD:

 

Coil:

 

Manufactures all specify what the expected consumption of fluids is.

 

 

Not a lot of help considering the high level of Japanese imports in NZ all of which ship without a manual or it in Japanese.

 

 

 

 

That is the consumers own stupid fault for buying second class goods...

In the case where you can find something out of Japan with all the keys and books like I did for my father with his car then go for it. But the stealership selling Jap-Crap will sell you what ever presents good no matter what the history.
As an ex car industry employee I can tell ya most of those books are missing because what they will tell you will make you turn away...

 

Car manuals can also be sourced online for free a lot of the time too. 





 


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  Reply # 2073999 15-Aug-2018 15:40
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Modern cars burn engine oil faster than older ones did due to the never ending drive for fuel economy by reducing internal friction. They also use lighter (thinner) oils for the same purpose.

 

In contrast, the only time you should ever need to top up brake/coolant/transmission/power steering fluids or A/C refrigerant is if there's a leak. Brake fluid reservoir volumes are designed with enough capacity to go from all new brake linings to all completely worn brake linings plus a bit more.

 

Coolant and brake fluid should be replaced regularly. Many transmissions are now sealed for life.


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