Repair & Maintenance

How Often Should I Change My Car’s Fluids?

Fresh fluids for optimal performance


Your car’s engine relies on clean fluids to lubricate and cool it during operation. It also depends on periodic fluid changes to maintain operating efficiency and ensure a long service life. Fluids that are poorly maintained and allowed to become dirty and contaminated can reduce the life of your vehicle’s engine.

Each of the different types of fluid in your vehicle has different maintenance and changing schedules. Discover how often each of these different fluids should be changed to keep your vehicle running in peak condition.

How frequently should I change the fluids?

The frequency of your fluid changes has a direct impact on your car’s performance and how long the engine will last. Here is a typical recommended service schedule for the various fluids in your vehicle:


Motor oil

Thanks to advancements in engine technology and engine oil and oil filtering efficiency, most manufacturers recommend oil changes in intervals of 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Under some operating conditions, manufacturers recommend oil changes at 15,000-mile intervals.


Transmission fluid

With improvements in transmission technology, transmission fluid and fluid filtering efficiency, most manufacturers recommend transmission fluid changes of 100,000 miles and upward to 150,000 miles under some conditions.


Rear differential oil

Due to transmission technology advancements, most manufacturers recommend rear differential oil changes of 100,000 and upward to 150,000 under some conditions.


Power steering fluid

Power steering fluid is generally not listed for replacement by the manufacturer unless the fluid becomes contaminated, a power steering repair has been performed, or a mechanic suspects that a power steering issue could be corrected with a fluid change.


Engine coolant

Like engine oil, engine coolant plays a critical role in the performance and reliability of your car’s engine. Most manufacturers recommend engine coolant changes every 24 months to 36 months, depending on operating conditions.


Brake fluid

Brake fluid operates in an intensely hot and harsh environment and can become contaminated by condensation from the rapid heating and cooling of the fluid by the braking system. Most manufacturers recommend brake fluid changes every 24 months, depending on operating conditions.


Hydraulic clutch fluid

Vehicles equipped with manual transmissions have hydraulic clutch operating systems that are generally pressurized by brake fluid. Most manufacturers recommend brake fluid changes every 24 months, depending on operating conditions.

Final thoughts


If you have any questions on the maintenance schedule for your specific vehicle, consult your owner’s manual. Your mechanic is also a valuable source of information. By taking into account your driving habits and the conditions under which you drive, they’ll be able to make recommendations for your vehicle.


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The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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