Taking care of your car goes beyond parking in the garage and getting routine maintenance. Sometimes you'll need to get your hands dirty to make sure your car is in pristine condition. The engine is the heart of your car and there are a few fluids you'll need to keep your eye on. Whether you're a hobby mechanic or looking to save some money, here are a few fluids you can check yourself.

·         Engine Oil - Although stopping at a quick change oil outlet is tempting, you can save money by checking your oil yourself. Locate the dipstick and remove it. Wipe it clean then reinsert it. Pull it back out and if it looks fine, put it back. If you're running low on oil, add more according to your owner's manual. As a general rule, you should get an oil change every six months or 7,500 miles, whichever comes first. The oil lubricates and keeps the engine cool, so it's important to keep up with routine maintenance.

·         Coolant - Located near the radiator, the coolant should be filled to the minimum marking on the plastic container. If it isn't, adding more isn't difficult. Add a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze. The engine coolant protects aluminum parts and keeps the engine from freezing or overheating. Be sure to check your owner's manual to see when your manufacturer recommends a coolant flush!

·         Power Steering Fluid - Keeping track of the fluid level in the small tank located at the base of the windshield is essential to both you and your car's health. Power steering fluid makes it easy to turn the wheel of your car. Manufacturers have their own schedules as to when you should flush your power steering fluid, the cheapest part of the system. You should flush your system every 75,000 to 100,000 miles, just to be safe. Be sure to keep the fluid level between the minimum and maximum lines!

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