Belts hoses and other fluids

Maintain your belts, hoses and fluids to ensure your vehicle’s optimal performance.

Modern cars are complex machines that can only perform at their best when they are well-maintained. To ensure optimal performance, follow these basic maintenance practices for fan belts, hoses and cooling systems, brakes, power steering and manual or automatic transmissions.

How it works

What you do

Fan belts drive

Fan Belts use some of the power of the engine to drive external devices such as: water pump, alternator, power steering pump, air conditioner compressor and certain emission control devices.

Check your fan belt

You should be looking for the following: (be sure engine is cool, turned off and ignition key is removed!) excessive looseness, cracks and glazed or shiny rubber. If any of those problems are visible, you should replace your fan belt. Otherwise, get it changed every two years. As always, if you are uncertain about the condition of your fan belt, have it checked by a trained technician.

Check your fan belt with every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

Check your hoses and cooling system every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

Hoses and cooling system

Hoses are used to carry coolant (i.e., antifreeze) to and from the engine and they are a part of the engine’s cooling system. The cooling system is designed to remove excess heat from the engine and to provide engine heat for passenger comfort and windshield defogging. The engine coolant must provide several functions to properly protect your engine year-round:

  • Freeze protection – The coolant must not freeze solid in order to protect the engine block from cracking.
  • Boil-Over protection – Coolant, when properly mixed with water and under the proper system pressure, has a significantly higher boiling point than just water alone. This enables modern engines to run hotter, reducing emissions and increasing overall engine efficiency.
  • Corrosion protection – Coolant contains additives to keep the inside of the engine, radiator and other system parts from being attacked by corrosion.
  • Lubrication – Coolant contains lubrication additives to extend water pump seal life.

Protection for rubber parts – Coolants must be compatible with rubber parts such as radiator and heater hoses, and water pump seals

Check your coolant

During oil changes, check that your coolant is filled to the proper level. Every two to five years or 250,000 kms, you should change your coolant. Most newer cars on the road today have extended life coolants. The STP® brand offers a variety of extended life coolants to meet the demands of today’s extreme engine and environmental temperature to protect your cooling system. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommended change intervals. When checking hoses (be sure engine is cool, turned off and ignition key is removed!) you should be looking for the following: leaks and excessive hardness or softness. If your hoses have any of those problems, have them replaced. Also, be sure to check the clamps on your hoses to make sure they are tight. Finally, if your hoses are over three years old, you should consider having them replaced.

Check your coolant and change it at least every 5 years or 250,000 kms for extended life coolant and every two years for silicate based coolants.

Brake system

The vehicle brake system uses fluid to transmit the pressure applied to the brake pedal to each of the brakes at the wheels. Brake fluid is specially formulated to be compatible with the materials that make up the brake system and to withstand the high temperatures associated with stopping a moving vehicle.

All brake fluid is not the same. Brake fluids with a designation of DOT 3 and DOT 4 are used with most automobiles today. If you find that your vehicle needs a small amount of brake fluid, be sure to check with your owner’s manual for the correct type to use, or check with your automotive technician.

Try STP® Brake Fluid to protect your brake system for disc or drum brakes.

Check your brake fluid

The brake fluid reservoir is usually located inside the engine compartment, directly in front of the steering wheel area for vehicles with the engine located in the front. Most fluid reservoirs today are made with a see-through plastic that allows you to see the level of fluid without removing the reservoir cover. If the reservoir cover must be removed, either to check the fluid level or to add a small amount, be sure to clean the area before removing the reservoir cap to prevent dirt contamination. Also, be sure to open the reservoir only as long as it takes to check or add fluid and then close it again. Brake fluid absorbs moisture and can become contaminated if left exposed to the atmosphere for long periods. Finally, to keep your brake system in optimal condition, it is a good idea to change your brake fluid every two years.

Check your brake fluid at every oil change (5,000 kilometres).

Power steering system

The power steering system utilizes a belt-driven pump-to-pump fluid under pressure to help steer the vehicle. Some vehicles in the future will likely use a different system, but most vehicles today use the belt-driven pump system. There are several types of power steering systems, such as “rack and pinion” or the more conventional “worm and sector,” but all use fluid under pressure as the main way to assist you in steering the vehicle.

Try STP® Power Steering Fluid to protect power steering systems against wear and breakdown.

Check your power steering system

Every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

Power steering pumps can be located in some “out of the way” places on some vehicles, but because the pumps are always driven by a fan belt, you should not have a great deal of difficulty in finding the pump on your vehicle. Just follow the path of the fan belt to see what devices they drive and you will inevitably find the power steering pump. When checking power steering system (be sure engine is cool, turned off and ignition key is removed!) you should be looking for the following: fluid level, pump fan belt (see fan belts for tips) and system leaks.

Try STP® Power Steering Fluid to protect power steering systems against wear and breakdown

 

Automatic Transmission

The automatic transmission uses the power of fluid (hydraulics) to transmit engine power through various gear ratios to the differential gears and ultimately, to the drive wheels.

Manual Transmission

The manual transmission uses a series of gears that are selected by the driver to ultimately transfer power the wheels. Transmission fluid is used to lubricate the gears and keep the transmission functioning properly.

Check your transmission fluid

Every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

Check the fluid level according to the manufacturer specified procedure, usually found in the owner’s manual. Most often, the transmission is checked while HOT, with the vehicle in park, the emergency brake on and the engine idling.

    How it works

  • Fan belts drive

    Fan Belts use some of the power of the engine to drive external devices such as: water pump, alternator, power steering pump, air conditioner compressor and certain emission control devices.

  • What you do

  • Check your fan belt

    You should be looking for the following: (be sure engine is cool, turned off and ignition key is removed!) excessive looseness, cracks and glazed or shiny rubber. If any of those problems are visible, you should replace your fan belt. Otherwise, get it changed every two years. As always, if you are uncertain about the condition of your fan belt, have it checked by a trained technician.

    Check your fan belt with every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

    Check your hoses and cooling system every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

    How it works

  • Fan belts drive

    Fan Belts use some of the power of the engine to drive external devices such as: water pump, alternator, power steering pump, air conditioner compressor and certain emission control devices.

  • What you do

  • Check your fan belt

    You should be looking for the following: (be sure engine is cool, turned off and ignition key is removed!) excessive looseness, cracks and glazed or shiny rubber. If any of those problems are visible, you should replace your fan belt. Otherwise, get it changed every two years. As always, if you are uncertain about the condition of your fan belt, have it checked by a trained technician.

    Check your fan belt with every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

    Check your hoses and cooling system every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

    How it works

  • Fan belts drive

    Fan Belts use some of the power of the engine to drive external devices such as: water pump, alternator, power steering pump, air conditioner compressor and certain emission control devices.

  • What you do

  • Check your fan belt

    You should be looking for the following: (be sure engine is cool, turned off and ignition key is removed!) excessive looseness, cracks and glazed or shiny rubber. If any of those problems are visible, you should replace your fan belt. Otherwise, get it changed every two years. As always, if you are uncertain about the condition of your fan belt, have it checked by a trained technician.

    Check your fan belt with every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

    Check your hoses and cooling system every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

    How it works

  • Hoses and cooling system

    Hoses are used to carry coolant (i.e., antifreeze) to and from the engine and they are a part of the engine’s cooling system. The cooling system is designed to remove excess heat from the engine and to provide engine heat for passenger comfort and windshield defogging. The engine coolant must provide several functions to properly protect your engine year-round:

    • Freeze protection – The coolant must not freeze solid in order to protect the engine block from cracking.
    • Boil-Over protection – Coolant, when properly mixed with water and under the proper system pressure, has a significantly higher boiling point than just water alone. This enables modern engines to run hotter, reducing emissions and increasing overall engine efficiency.
    • Corrosion protection – Coolant contains additives to keep the inside of the engine, radiator and other system parts from being attacked by corrosion.
    • Lubrication – Coolant contains lubrication additives to extend water pump seal life.

    Protection for rubber parts – Coolants must be compatible with rubber parts such as radiator and heater hoses, and water pump seals

  • What you do

  • Check your coolant

    During oil changes, check that your coolant is filled to the proper level. Every two to five years or 250,000 kms, you should change your coolant. Most newer cars on the road today have extended life coolants. The STP® brand offers a variety of extended life coolants to meet the demands of today’s extreme engine and environmental temperature to protect your cooling system. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommended change intervals. When checking hoses (be sure engine is cool, turned off and ignition key is removed!) you should be looking for the following: leaks and excessive hardness or softness. If your hoses have any of those problems, have them replaced. Also, be sure to check the clamps on your hoses to make sure they are tight. Finally, if your hoses are over three years old, you should consider having them replaced.

    Check your coolant and change it at least every 5 years or 250,000 kms for extended life coolant and every two years for silicate based coolants.

    How it works

  • Brake system

    The vehicle brake system uses fluid to transmit the pressure applied to the brake pedal to each of the brakes at the wheels. Brake fluid is specially formulated to be compatible with the materials that make up the brake system and to withstand the high temperatures associated with stopping a moving vehicle.

    All brake fluid is not the same. Brake fluids with a designation of DOT 3 and DOT 4 are used with most automobiles today. If you find that your vehicle needs a small amount of brake fluid, be sure to check with your owner’s manual for the correct type to use, or check with your automotive technician.

    Try STP® Brake Fluid to protect your brake system for disc or drum brakes.

  • What you do

  • Check your brake fluid

    The brake fluid reservoir is usually located inside the engine compartment, directly in front of the steering wheel area for vehicles with the engine located in the front. Most fluid reservoirs today are made with a see-through plastic that allows you to see the level of fluid without removing the reservoir cover. If the reservoir cover must be removed, either to check the fluid level or to add a small amount, be sure to clean the area before removing the reservoir cap to prevent dirt contamination. Also, be sure to open the reservoir only as long as it takes to check or add fluid and then close it again. Brake fluid absorbs moisture and can become contaminated if left exposed to the atmosphere for long periods. Finally, to keep your brake system in optimal condition, it is a good idea to change your brake fluid every two years.

    Check your brake fluid at every oil change (5,000 kilometres).

    How it works

  • Power steering system

    The power steering system utilizes a belt-driven pump-to-pump fluid under pressure to help steer the vehicle. Some vehicles in the future will likely use a different system, but most vehicles today use the belt-driven pump system. There are several types of power steering systems, such as “rack and pinion” or the more conventional “worm and sector,” but all use fluid under pressure as the main way to assist you in steering the vehicle.

    Try STP® Power Steering Fluid to protect power steering systems against wear and breakdown.

  • What you do

  • Check your power steering system

    Every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

    Power steering pumps can be located in some “out of the way” places on some vehicles, but because the pumps are always driven by a fan belt, you should not have a great deal of difficulty in finding the pump on your vehicle. Just follow the path of the fan belt to see what devices they drive and you will inevitably find the power steering pump. When checking power steering system (be sure engine is cool, turned off and ignition key is removed!) you should be looking for the following: fluid level, pump fan belt (see fan belts for tips) and system leaks.

    Try STP® Power Steering Fluid to protect power steering systems against wear and breakdown

     

    How it works

  • Automatic Transmission

    The automatic transmission uses the power of fluid (hydraulics) to transmit engine power through various gear ratios to the differential gears and ultimately, to the drive wheels.

  • Manual Transmission

    The manual transmission uses a series of gears that are selected by the driver to ultimately transfer power the wheels. Transmission fluid is used to lubricate the gears and keep the transmission functioning properly.

  • What you do

  • Check your transmission fluid

    Every oil change (5,000 kilometres)

    Check the fluid level according to the manufacturer specified procedure, usually found in the owner’s manual. Most often, the transmission is checked while HOT, with the vehicle in park, the emergency brake on and the engine idling.