Fluids on Your Truck That You Can Check Yourself

how to check the fluids on your truck


Even if you are not mechanically inclined, checking many of the fluids in your lifted truck is easy. In fact, it’s a good practice to get into checking the fluids once a month. By checking your fluids you may notice an issue early on, such as an oil leak or issue with your transmission, and save money by getting it fixed early.

Engine Oil

We all know to get our oil changed every three to five-thousand miles, depending on the make, but it’s a good idea to check the oil yourself as part of the monthly fluid check. To check the engine oil, you’ll want to make sure the truck is off and cool. The engine oil dipstick is pretty easy to spot, since on most new cars it has a bright yellow handle. It’s also generally located at the front of the engine.

Once you locate the dipstick, you’ll want to pull it out and wipe it clean. After that, put it back in and then pull it out again. Hopefully, the oil line shows at or just under the full mark. If it is at or below the low mark, time for an oil change. You’ll also want to take the truck in for an oil change if the oil looks dirty.

Transmission Fluid

Some newer trucks and other vehicles have removed the transmission dipstick, and if your truck is one of those, you’ll need to take it to a mechanic to get looked at. If you do have a dipstick it will be located at either the front or back of the engine.

Unlike when checking the engine oil, when you check the transmission fluid you’ll want to have the truck on and in park when you check it. Just like with the oil, pull the dipstick off, clean it, and then put it back in to check the transmission fluid level. It’s important to note the color of the fluid too. Transmission fluid should be light pink, light brown, or red. If the fluid smells burnt or is dark brown, it’s time to get replaced.

Plan on changing your transmission fluid every thirty to sixty-thousand miles.


You’ll want your engine off and cool to check the coolant level. Look for a translucent tank with minimum and maximum markings on the side of the tank, that’s the coolant tank. If the coolant is low, you’ll need to add more. Be sure to check the coolant to see if it’s been premixed or if you need to add water to it.

Wiper Fluid

With the car off and engine cool, look for the windshield wiper reservoir near the windshield. It will be translucent and have a blue liquid in it. You’ll want to add more if the fluid is low.

Brake Fluid

The brake fluid reservoir tends to be located on the back on your truck’s engine. Most the time it’s translucent, and like the other fluid reservoirs will have a minimum and a maximum line on it. You should change your brake fluid every forty-five-thousand miles.

Power Steering Fluid

When checking the power steering fluid, you’ll want to (with the truck on) lock and then unlock the steering wheel several times while your engine is running. Once done, turn the engine off. To locate the power steering fluid reservoir look for a cap that has "steering" or "power steering" written on it. If your power steering reservoir has a dipstick remove it and check the fluid levels the same way you would with your engine oil. If it doesn’t have a dipstick, then do a visual inspection to see if it needs fluids.

Experts don’t have a clear consensus on how often to change the power steering fluid, so check your owner’s manual to see what that says.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the online inventory of used trucks in Olympia, then visit South Sound Trucks to test drive the truck of your dreams and find a new weekend warrior to hit the trails with.