To maintain the proper functioning of your vehicle, it is very important to keep its fluids at an optimal level as it is recommended by the car’s manufacturers. Vehicles have several different types of fluid such as oil, brake fluid, coolant, and more and each one may come at different costs.
In this article, we will explore the associated costs of topping off different fluids, in order to maintain and keep your car running properly,
How Much Does It Cost To Top Off Fluids?
The average cost of topping off fluids in your car is anywhere from $20 to $50. These prices are directly influenced by the type of fluid that needs to be refilled, the brand, the quality of the fluid, where you purchase it, and the service provider that you choose to do the job.
For example, 5 quarts of engine oil will be somewhere from $20 to $35, while 1 quart may be around $5 to $15, depending on the brand and quality of the oil. Also, based on the quantity of the oil that needs to be topped off, the cost will vary.
The cost range for brake fluid is typically between $6 to $35 per quart. Factors such as the make and model of your car, and the type and quality of the fluid will definitely influence the cost.
Another car fluid that needs to be topped off may be the windshield washer fluid, which usually ranges between $6 to $15 per gallon, depending on the brand, the type of fluid whether it is standard, all-season, or bug washer, and where you purchase it.
On average, the cost of an antifreeze/coolant fluid should be somewhere from $10 to $15 per gallon.
However, take into consideration that each fluid top-off quantity will vary and also, each vehicle has its own specific type of fluid, recommended by the manufacturer, factors that will influence the final cost.
There are some fluids that, depending on some specific cases such as the mileage of the car, will need to be completely flushed and replaced and this factor will have to be considered in your budget. In case the job is performed by professional mechanics or at a dealership, expect to pay an additional fee for labor.
However, you can always DIY fluid top off, to waive the labor fee. Still, before choosing the right course of action, keep in mind that some fluids may require a more complex process and a professional mechanic may be needed to do the job. It is always better to ask for several quotes on the cost of topping off fluids based on your vehicle’s make and model.
Factors affecting the cost to top of fluids
As mentioned above, there are several factors that may influence the cost of topping off fluids in your car. Below, we listed some key factors to be considered when estimating the costs of topping of fluids:
- Type and Quantity of Fluid: Depending on the type of oil or fluid that you need to top off, the costs may vary. When it comes to car oils, typically engine oil change is much more affordable than other fluids such as differential or transmission oil. Additionally, depending on the quantity of oil that is needed to complete a top-off, the cost will also differ.
- Brand and Quality: As with any product, fluids can be purchased from several brands that have various qualities. From common types to premium oils, the cost range will vary. Because of their improved performance and additional benefits, high-end fluids are most of the time more expensive. Before you buy a certain brand, make sure you verify compatibility by reviewing the manufacturer’s requirements for your car, to avoid any damage.
- Location and Service Provider: Another major factor that can influence the cost of a top-off, will be your local labor rate and where the job is performed. For instance, depending on whether you live in a rural or urban region, costs may vary. Urban areas are usually more inclined to charge higher costs than small towns, where living costs are lower. However, the experience and the reputation of the mechanic, or whether you choose to have the job done at a dealership, can also increase the final cost.
- Labor Charges: Having the fluid top-off performed by a professional will add an extra fee for the labor. As previously mentioned, the experience of the professional can influence the cost, but also the complexity of the job for your specific vehicle. Take into consideration that hourly rates can vary and we recommend asking for a quote that includes both the fluids and the labor cost, before starting the process.
- Additional Services or Flushes: Depending on the type of fluid that needs a top-off, other services may be needed. For example, in some cases, the actual fluid needs to be completely drained from the system, and then the system needs to be degreased and cleaned, followed by a refill with new fluid. This will, therefore, result in greater expenses due to the extended labor time and effort required.
DIY Versus Professional Services
Typically, topping off fluids can be easily a do-it-yourself job. For instance, a windshield washer or coolant only needs to be poured into their specific container. This way you are not only saving money by avoiding labor charges, but you can also shop around, and find the best deal when purchasing the fluids.
But take into consideration that you must have a minimum of knowledge and handiness to complete the job as intended.
Note that constant fluid maintenance will increase the lifespan and effectiveness of your vehicle.
When it comes to maintaining your vehicle’s fluids, it is important to know how much it will cost to top them off, especially if you are on a tight budget. There are various types and volumes of fluids, as well as different service providers and locations to consider, which can all affect the cost. Having a good understanding of these factors will help you make informed decisions when it comes to car maintenance.