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The Differences Between a Fluid Change and a Fluid Flush

Your car has many different fluids inside that help keep components lubricated and vital systems working properly. We're talking about engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid and radiator coolant (antifreeze). If these fluids aren't kept at a certain level and the fluid itself is not in good shape, your vehicle could develop major problems and you could be in for expensive repairs.

Fluid Maintenance

First of all, it's a good idea to get all your fluids checked regularly. The most common maintenance service is an oil change (which includes changing out the oil in the pan along with the oil filter). Other fluids usually don't need to be changed as often, but they always need to be taken care of properly.

You may hear a couple different terms when it comes to fluid maintenance. In this article, we specifically want to address the differences between a fluid change and a fluid flush. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably by people who are not mechanics, but there is actually a major difference between the two automotive services.

Fluid Change

A fluid change is a much simpler process. It entails draining the fluid that is currently in the pan or reservoir, and then replacing it with new fluid. In the cases of oil changes and transmission services, filters are also usually replaced during the fluid change process. A fluid change is generally all you'll need if your fluid levels are getting low or the fluid itself is losing viscosity. If you check one of your dipsticks and the fluid is darker than it should be, but not totally burnt or corroded, then it's usually time for a change. 

Fluid Flush

A fluid flush, on the other hand, is a much more complex process. It goes well beyond just changing out the fluid in the pan or reservoir. It is more like a full blood transfusion and it is sometimes needed when there is a lot of corrosion, gunk, debris or even clogs in the lines. This means vital components aren't getting properly lubricated and major damage could occur if the fluid is left to deteriorate. In the case of a full fluid flush, all the fluid is removed from the system. Then, the lines are flushed and cleaned out before all new fluid is introduced. 

As you might expect, a fluid flush will cost you more than a standard fluid change. However, sometimes it is recommended and very much worth considering for the overall health and performance of your vehicle. If your mechanic suggests a full fluid flush, it means they have real concerns about the fluid running through your system. It is not a recommendation to take lightly. After all a fluid flush is still not going to be nearly as expensive as having to make major transmission or engine repairs.

Fluid Maintenance at LightHouse Automotive

LightHouse Automotive in Colorado Springs has all your fluid service and maintenance needs covered. Whether you need a basic oil change, transmission service, brake service, fluid top-off or a complete fluid flush, our team of expert auto repair technicians is here to help. Call LightHouse Automotive today at (719) 465-0302 or schedule your service appointment online.


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