Fluid level checks

Note: The following are fluid level checks to be done on a 250 mile or weekly basis. Additional fluid level checks can be found in specific maintenance procedures that follow. Regardless of intervals, be alert to fluid leaks under the vehicle, which would indicate a fault to be corrected immediately.

1. Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake, clutch and windshield washer systems. Because the fluids gradually become depleted and/or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be periodically replenished. See Recommended lubricants and fluids in this Chapter’s Specifications before adding fluid to any of the following components.

Note: The vehicle must be on level ground when fluid levels are checked.

Engine oil

2. The engine oil level is checked with a dipstick that extends through a tube and into the oil pan at the bottom of the engine (see illustration).

4.2 The engine oil dipstick (A) and oil filler cap (B) are located on the left side of the engine (V6 engine shown, V8 similar)

Chevrolet Silverado _ The engine oil dipstick (A) and oil filler cap (B) are located on the left side of the engine (V6 engine shown, V8 similar)

3. The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 5 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick.

4. Pull the dipstick out of the tube and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back into the tube, then pull it out again. Note the oil at the end of the dipstick. Add oil as necessary to keep the level between the cross-hatched area on the dipstick (see illustration).

4.4 The oil level must be maintained in the cross -hatched area, but not above it

Chevrolet Silverado  _  The oil level must be maintained in the cross -hatched area, but not above it

5. Do not overfill the engine by adding too much oil since this may result in oil-fouled spark plugs, oil leaks or oil seal failures.

6. Oil is added to the engine after unscrewing the cap from the valve cover (see illustration 4.2).

Note: Always make sure the area around the opening is clean before removing the cap to prevent dirt from contaminating the engine.

7. Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A consistently low oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, defective gaskets or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky or has water droplets in it, the cylinder head gasket (s) may be blown or the head(s) or block may be cracked. The engine should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Whenever you check the oil level, slide your thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed (see Engine oil and filter change).

Engine coolant

Warning: Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Antifreeze is highly toxic if ingested. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container or in puddles on the floor; children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell and may drink it. Check with local authorities on disposing of used antifreeze. Many communities have collection centers that will see that antifreeze is disposed of safely.

Caution: Never mix green-colored ethylene glycol antifreeze and orange-colored DEXCOOL silicate-free coolant because doing so will destroy the efficiency of the DEX-COOL coolant which is designed to last for 100,000 miles or five years.

Note: Non-toxic antifreeze is now manufactured and available at local auto parts stores, but even this type should be disposed of properly.

8. All vehicles covered by this manual are equipped with a pressurized coolant expansion tank, located at the right side of the engine compartment, and connected by hoses to the radiator and cooling system.

9. The coolant level in the expansion tank should be checked regularly.

Warning: Do not remove the pressure cap to check the coolant level when the engine is warm.

10. The level of coolant in the expansion tank varies with the temperature of the engine. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be at or slightly above the COLD mark on the expansion tank (see illustration). To add coolant, slowly unscrew the cap, then add coolant until it is up to the COLD mark (see the Caution at the beginning of this section).

4.10 The coolant expansion tank is located on the right side, near the air filter — make sure the level is up to the COLD mark when the engine is cold

Chevrolet Silverado  _  The coolant expansion tank is located on the right side, near the air filter - make sure the level is up to the COLD mark when the engine is cold

Warning: If coolant or steam escapes as you unscrew the cap, let the engine cool down longer, then remove the cap.

11. Install the cap, start the engine and run it at approximately 2000 rpm until the coolant temperature gauge reads approximately 195-degrees F. If the coolant level drops, let the engine cool, then add more until it is up to the COLD mark. In order to maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, always top up the coolant level with the correct mixture. Do not use rust inhibitors or additives.

12. If the coolant level drops consistently, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, pressure cap, drain plugs and water pump (see Cooling system check).

13. If no leaks are noted, have the pressure cap tested by a service station.

14. Check the condition of the coolant as well. It should be relatively clear. If it is brown or rust colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals. If the system is filled with standard green coolant/water, it must be flushed and replaced more frequently than if the original DEX-COOL coolant is retained.

Windshield washer fluid

15. Fluid for the windshield washer system is located in a plastic reservoir in the left side of the engine compartment (see illustration).

4.15 Location of the windshield washer fluid reservoir

Chevrolet Silverado  _  Location of the windshield washer fluid reservoir

16. In milder climates, plain water can be used in the reservoir, but it should be kept no more than 2/3 full to allow for expansion if the water freezes. In colder climates, use windshield washer system antifreeze, available at any auto parts store, to lower the freezing point of the fluid. Mix the antifreeze with water in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions on the container.

Caution: Don’t use cooling system antifreeze — it will smear the windshield and damage the vehicle’s paint.

17. To help prevent icing in cold weather, warm the windshield with the defroster before using the washer.

Battery electrolyte

18. These vehicles are equipped with a battery which is permanently sealed (except for vent holes) and has no filler caps. Water doesn’t have to be added to these batteries at any time. If a maintenance-type battery is installed, the caps on the top of the battery should be removed periodically to check for a low electrolyte level. This check is most critical during the warm summer months. Add only distilled water to any battery.

Brake fluid

19. The brake master cylinder is mounted on the upper left of the engine compartment firewall.

20. The translucent plastic reservoir allows the fluid inside to be checked without removing the cap (see illustration). Be sure to wipe the top of reservoir cap with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the brake system before removing the cover.

4.20 Never let the brake fluid level drop below the MIN mark

Chevrolet Silverado  _  Never let the brake fluid level drop below the MIN mark

21. When adding fluid, pour it carefully into the reservoir to avoid spilling it on surrounding painted surfaces. Be sure the specified fluid is used, since mixing different types of brake fluid can cause damage to the system. See Recommended lubricants and fluids in this Chapter’s Specifications or your owner’s manual.

Warning: Brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling or pouring it. Do not use brake fluid that has been standing open or is more than one year old. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. Moisture in the system can cause a dangerous loss of brake performance.

22. At this time, the fluid and master cylinder can be inspected for contamination. The system should be drained and refilled if deposits, dirt particles or water droplets are seen in the fluid.

23. After filling the reservoir to the proper level, make sure the cover or cap is on tight to prevent fluid leakage.

24. The brake fluid level in the master cylinder will drop slightly as the pads at the front wheels wear down during normal operation. If the master cylinder requires repeated additions to keep it at the proper level, it’s an indication of leakage in the brake system, which should be corrected immediately. Check all brake lines and connections (see Brake system check for more information).

25. If, upon checking the master cylinder fluid level, you discover the reservoir is empty or nearly empty, the brake system should be bled and thoroughly inspected (see Brakes).

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