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When did you last checked your VW car fluids?

The days of the full-service gas station are gone, and modern vw cars can go 30,000 miles or more without a tune-up. So it's up to you to check the little things before they become big, expensive problems by checking under the hood of your VW car on a regular basis.

Following these simple monthly checks will alert you to potential problems that can be dealt with before you get stranded or end up paying for expensive auto repairs.

Check Your VW car's Fluids

First a word of caution on fluids - particularly for vw cars. Car manufacturer'sare required to specify in their owner's manuals all the fluids to be used in your VW car and the manufacturer's OE specifications for each. Make sure to check here first - before adding any fluids to your VW car.

It is also required that OE oils and coolants must be mixable with "off the shelf" products to allow for emergency service. It may not be the best thing for your Volkswagen engine long-term, but you can add plain old 30W oil to $5 a quart synthetics and the same goes for coolants and water.

On the other hand, however, are the hydraulic oils (i.e., power steering, brake fluid, transmission fluid, differential/axle, etc). These must be at certain specifications for viscosity and liquid type (petroleum vs. mineral vs. synthetic). Hence, it's critical that you know what products to be adding to your VW car according to the specifications given in your Volkswagen owner's manual.

Check the oil when the engineof your vw car is warm. Oil expands when it's hot and contracts when it's cold; different temperatures will give you different readings.

Here are the steps to follow to check your VW car's oil:

1. Park the your VW car on a level surface.

2. Turn off the Volkswagen engine. It's best to wait at least 10 minutes to give the oil a chance to drain down into the crankcase. Otherwise, you might think you're as much as a quart low when you're not.

3. Open your hood.

4. Find the dipstick - a long piece of metal sticking out of the engine usually located near the spark plugs with a loop at one end. Many dipsticks now have a "T" handle or are incorporated into the fill cap. If you don't find the loop, look for these.

5. Pull on the loop and draw the dipstick all the way out.

6. Wipe the oil off the dipstick with a paper towel or shop rag.

7. Replace the clean dipstick, making sure to push it all the way in; then pull it back out and hold it horizontally in front of you.

8. Look at the pointed end of the dipstick. If the oil on the dipstick is below the line marked "full", add a small amount of oil (less than a quarter of a quart) with a funnel. Many dipsticks simply have two lines with a cross hatch design in between. The oil level should be halfway between these two lines.

9. Add oil by unscrewing the oil filler cap, which is about 3 inches in diameter and is located on the very top of the Volkswagen engine.

10. Check the oil level with the dipstick after adding oil. Add more if necessary. It's easy to add more oil but difficult to remove oil if you add too much so add slowly and continue rechecking.

11. Put the oil filler cap back on and secure it tightly.

It's best to always keep two quarts of oil in your car. Your owner's manual will tell you what type of motor oil your vw engine requires and this may vary on the season/weather. If you're in a pinch or you only need to add a little, it's okay to mix types - for example, 10W-40 with 10W-30.

The oil lubricating system is a closed system. This means that the oil does not get "used up" or go anywhere. If it's consistently low, there may be an oil leak. Leaks always get worse, and losing all the engine oil will require expensive repairs and/or replacing the engine. Make sure to further investigate or take to qualified VW mechanic at www.carservicing4less.co.uk if your car seems to have an oil leak.