Fluids & Lubricants The reciprocating internal combustion engine functions on the principle of converting heat from the burning of a fuel, in this case petrol, into kinetic energy, which imparts motion to the vehicle. Engines run more efficiently at high temperatures. Cold engines wear out parts faster, lose efficiency and produce more pollution. However, the amount of heat produced by these engines if not kept in check would be so tremendous that they would sooner or later melt all non metal parts and eventually damage the engine. Thus the need for a system of cooling the engine was devised. For some cars, this involves the use of a special type of fluid, or coolant which absorbs heat away from the engine, thereby cooling it. This fluid is pumped to a radiator or heat exchange system which, in conjunction with a blower or fan, releases the heat into the surrounding atmosphere. Radiator fluid should be checked before every trip, and topped off as soon as the levels go down. A word of caution: Always check your radiator fluid levels ONLY when the radiator is cool as the fluids inside are extremely hot and under pressure. Releasing the pressure and opening the radiator cap while the engine is still hot or running may result in an explosive burst of coolant which may result in injury. Be very careful.
Other fluids that need the usual periodic checking and topping off are those that have no lubricating or cooling purpose but serve to aid in the transfer of motion and force via a system of pistons, pumps, tubes and hoses. These are the hydraulic system fluids and brake fluids.

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