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What are the different fluids in an engine?

By blogsadmin | Posted in FAQs, Service & Maintenance, Tips & Tricks on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 at 8:37 am

Engines 101 part 1 

Keeping your engine well maintained is really important, and there are many components that make-up an engine, such as fluids, pistons, belts and many other parts.  Plus, the fluids need attention more often since they must be changed or added to.  But, what are the different fluids in an engine?  Part 1 of our Engines blog series will cover the important fluids that are in your engine. 

Besides the fuel your vehicle takes, there are three main types of fluids that are in engines: hydraulic fluids, lubricants and coolants. 

Hydraulic Fluids 

Hydraulic fluids are used to transfer power from one point to another.  For instance, when the engine creates power, a hydraulic fluid is what takes that power and transfers it to the rest of the vehicle. 

Brake Fluid 

This is the fluid that is used to bring power and force when the brakes are applied.  The power is what forces the brake system to work and to press brake pads against the rotors. 

Power Steering Fluid 

Usually transmission fluid is used as a hydraulic fluid inside the power steering, which is transported by a mechanical pump that is driven by the crankshaft using a v-belt.  This allows you to be able to easily turn and move the steering wheel in your car. 


person pouring brake fluid into car

[You May Be Interested In: Why Should I service my car batter at a Honda dealership?]




person pouring engine oil into car


Lubricants are used to reduce friction between moving parts, which allows the parts to last longer. 

Transmission Fluid 

When used as a lubricant, transmission fluid is optimized for valve operation, brake band friction, the torque converter and gear lubrication.  It can also be used in some 4-Wheel Drive transfer cases. 

Engine Oil 

The main job of engine oil is to reduce friction and wear on moving components and to keep the engine clean from sludge.  It can also neutralize acids that come from fuel and from the oxidation of lubricant; as well as improving the seal of piston rings and cooling the engine. 

Differential Oil 

This is used in vehicles that aren’t just FWD.  Differential oil lubricates the ring and pinion gears that transfer power from the driveshaft to the wheel axels. 

[Read More: Do you need to warm up your car before driving it?]


Coolants are used to transport heat away from the areas that it is created in the engine, the heat is transported towards a radiator where air can take the heat away from your car. 

Engine Coolant 

Engine coolant consists of a mixture of water, antifreeze and anti-corrosive additives.  Its purpose is to help keep the engine cool by absorbing the heat and transferring to the radiator when the coolant becomes hot.  The antifreeze keeps the coolant from freezing in low temperatures and raises the boiling point. 

AC Coolant 

This is the coolant, or refrigerant, that keeps your vehicle’s A/C system cool, dehumidify and circulate the air with your vehicle. 


person pouring engine coolant into car

Continue to follow our blog for part two of our Engines 101 blog series!  If you have any questions regarding the fluids that are used under your car’s hood, you can contact our knowledgeable service staff for more information.  If your engine’s fluids need to be replaced or are running low, you can schedule an appointment where our service staff can take a look at your car. 

Schedule a Service Appointment at Indy Honda


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