Fluid Change vs. Fluid Flush - What Are the Differences?

Your vehicle has many fluids that keep it running. You have fuel, engine oil, transmission fluid, radiator coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid. Each provides a specific purpose that your car won't function without. 

If you are dealing with a mechanic, you may hear a few different terms when it comes to maintaining your fluids. The most common services offered will be "fluid changes" and "fluid flushes." They may sound similar, but the processes are actually quite different, so we're here to explain what you need to know about each.

In the simplest of explanations, the primary difference between a fluid change and a fluid flush is the complexity of the process. A fluid flush is much more thorough, and thus it is a more expensive automotive maintenance procedure. However, when a complete fluid flush is recommended, it is usually for a reason. 

Fluid Change

The most common example of a fluid change is your standard oil change. An automotive technician will drain the old oil from the pan and refill it with fresh oil. The oil filter is generally replaced during this process, as well. Transmission services will also apply the same basic principal of replacing the fluid in the pan. This gets new fluid circulating throughout the system. As long as its done regularly as recommended, standard fluid changes for your various vehicle systems should be all you ever need.

Fluid Flush

Unfortunately, sometimes fluid lines and systems can get gunked up. Whether it's because of a lack of care or some other unforeseen forces, lines, connections and components that the fluid is flowing through can get dirty or clogged up with debris. This prevents the fluid from doing what it is meant to do and can ultimately lead to bigger automotive problems if left unresolved. 

A full fluid flush will be a more comprehensive service performed by an auto repair expert. Rather than just replacing the fluid that's in the pan, the entire system is flushed and thoroughly cleaned out with special solutions and equipment. All traces of the old/bad fluid are removed before all-new fluid is introduced. Now, it's important to know that fluid flushes are usually only recommended when there are major concerns, so if your mechanic does recommend one you ought to take it seriously. 

Another way to look at is that a fluid change is a preventative maintenance service while a fluid flush is more of a repair to fix something that has gone wrong. Either way, taking care of your car's fluids is a very important part of keeping your vehicle running its best.

For more information about fluid changes and flushes in Fairbanks, or to schedule your service appointment, call Simard Automotive today at (855) 690-0889 (Aeronca Avenue) or (855) 639-5001 (Gaffney Road).


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