OK, ladies. If you’re like me, you have a sort of phobia about the car, the computer, the lawnmower, weedeater… I’m always afraid I’m going to damage something in trying to fix it myself. What if I make the problem worse?

Knowledge is power. But getting too much at one time – especially when it is concerning an unfamiliar topic – is not good. Also, there’s the problem of losing what you don’t use. We don’t often get our heads under the cars, so when a crisis arises, there’s the fear of not remembering what we’d once learned. So…for those of you like me, I’m not berating you. I’m sympathizing with you.

My mom came to visit for the boys’ birthdays this week. As she was leaving to return home, the brake fluid light came on in her car. I took her to our local mechanic, but he wasn’t in. We then headed to Wal-Mart’s tire & lube center but didn’t get any help from them. They are not certified to deal with brakes. So, even though they had employees who knew how to check such things, they could get in legal trouble for doing so. (Thank you, big government.)

I noticed a Tennessee Highway highway patrol vehicle in the parking lot (It was not a patrol car, but it had the highway patrol logo on the side. And the occupant was not in uniform.) I asked the driver if he knew how to check brake fluid. He did. And now I do too. It is embarrassingly easy.

When he confirmed that the break fluid was low (he didn’t even wait for the engine to cool — that’s just for anti-freeze, so I’ve learned), he said we could go buy some in Wal-Mart, and he’d pour it in for us. That’s it? Yep.

But here’s how to replace brake fluid. On my Ford Taurus, the brake fluid container is toward the back right side, the opposite side of the car from the oil gauge, radiator, and windshield wiper fluid on my car. It’s an oblong plastic, fairly small container with a screw cap lid. There is a “max” fill line on it. You just pour the brake fluid up to the line, and you’re good to go. If the flulid level goes down again soon, there is probably a leak or brake problem. So, then you’d need to have it checked on.
In my car, there are 5 screw cap lids. One for each of the following: oil, power steering, anti-freeze, wiper fluid, and brake fluid. Get to know those containers and how to check their levels. It’s really not hard, and you’ll feel empowered and prepared for when those little lights come on in your car.