Own a 2012 Ford Mustang? Don’t know what kind of fluids are best for your sweet ride? Cheer up; you are at the right place to clear this all out! We have all the answers on what types of fluids your 2012 Mustang requires and how often you should replace them.
However, oil changes alone only form a tiny fraction of your overall maintenance routine. Just changing the engine oil or transmission fluid every once in a while is not enough to ensure the proper functioning of your sportscar. Indeed, you’ll need to be thorough with your servicing routine and use a quality Ford factory service manual to replace faulty components when required.
That being said, first things first, right? Let’s look at some of the best fluid options for your Ford Mustang and the role each plays.
Best Motor Oil for a 2012 Ford Mustang
Being a performance-oriented vehicle, your 2012 Ford Mustang’s engine has a hard life, being regularly subjugated to extreme heat, pressure, and friction. But in this desperate time comes a savior — engine oil.
The engine oil is the lifeline of your vehicle, reducing the friction caused by the pistons working against the cylinder walls by up to 70%. High-quality motor oil also keeps the engine cool by absorbing a portion of the heat produced by the engine’s components rubbing against each other. Without it, your Mustang’s engine would wear itself out within minutes, and that is the last thing you want. So no need to say that choosing the right motor oil is very important.
Your Ford workshop manual recommends using nothing but 5W-20 full synthetic oil. Still, many different types of 5W-20 oil are available in the market. If you like to floor the pedal at a drag strip on weekends, Royal Purple 5W-20 synthetic oil should be your go-to. It is highly effective in providing exceptional wear protection in high-performance engines, though it’s a bit costly at around $47 a gallon.
For regular drivers, the more affordable Castrol Edge 5W-20 (around $20/gallon) should be good enough to provide immunity against everyday wear and tear.
However, engine oil isn’t a one-time investment and often needs replacement. Usually, a higher-quality (and costlier) oil will keep your engine running smoothly for longer, though we recommend always playing it safe here.
Hence, if you want to keep your 2012 Mustang for longer, change the oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. According to the Ford technical service manual, the recommended intervals are longer (7,500-10,000 miles) — the manufacturer even included a reminder in the instrument panel’s display. Still, considering a 2012 Mustang is already an aging car, changing the oil sooner than later is always a smart move.
Best Transmission Fluid and When to Change It
Your Mustang’s transmission is a complex system comprising hundreds of parts. These components create friction when in motion and will eventually wear out. And this is where the transmission fluid comes into play, lubricating the components and decreasing the friction coefficient.
The gearbox could overheat and burn out quite quickly without transmission fluid, and repairing it can be very expensive. Luckily, unlike engine oil, the service intervals are longer so there’s no excuse for not doing it.
Also, look for shifting problems — the 6-speed manual, in particular, can be hard to work with when the oil starts to thin out. If you want to be more thorough, you can flush the transmission fluid to see if it’s dark and smelly and replace it if it is.
Still, you’ll want to ensure that you put the right fluid in there — you can’t just put any transmission fluid into your 2012 Mustang. Ford offers its muscle car with automatic and manual gearboxes, and both require different types of fluids.
If you have a stick-shift model, your Ford auto repair manual’s fluid requirement section recommends MOTORCRAFT 75W80 gear oil. Still, we,d highly suggest going full synthetic, as the Getrag MT82 6-speed manual can be quite notchy, and the fluid will smoothen everything out. Meanwhile, on its automatic models, Ford recommends using MOTORCRAFT MERCON LV automatic transmission fluid, which is a pretty good option in my book.
It’s also important to mention that the manufacturer also provides different service schedules if you drive in a sandy climate or freezing weather. If this is your case, you’ll find everything you need in your owner’s manual. Don’t have one? Head over to eManualOnline — they’ve got you covered!
Brake Fluid and Power Steering Fluid Type
For the 2012 Ford Mustang’s braking system, Ford recommends MOTORCRAFT High-Performance DOT 3 brake fluid. The low viscosity formula provides a faster response at lower temperatures, ideal for its ABS braking systems with stability control.
However, if you use your 2012 Mustang for track days or drag racing, you might want to think about putting DOT 4 brake fluid. It has a higher boiling point, meaning you can push the brakes extra hard before issues start to appear. Still, you’ll need to remember to replace your DOT 4 brake fluid more regularly because the boiling point might get lower than on a DOT 3 fluid over time.
Why? The reason is that brake fluids are hygroscopic, i.e., they absorb moisture, eventually affecting their overall efficiency. Besides, brake fluid also contains corrosion inhibitors and antioxidants that break down over time, leaving your Mustang’s brake components open to rust. Hence, always make sure to replace your brake fluid every 30,000 miles or two years (you’ll find everything you need to do that in your Ford workshop manual — and it’s pretty easy, you’ll see)
Coming to power steering fluids, luckily, you won’t have to spend anything here as Ford offered the 2012 Mustang with an Electronic Power Steering system (EPS) — no fluid replacement needed at all!
Antifreeze Type and Replacement Intervals
The antifreeze is an integral part of your Mustang’s cooling system. It is circulated through the engine by the water pump, bringing down the core temperature.
But why not use water instead? Well, while water would actually do a pretty good job at cooling your engine, it also has corrosive properties. Even worse, it freezes in sub-zero temperatures, potentially cracking several expensive components. Automotive coolant contains antifreeze and anti-corrosion additives, preventing water from freezing in the winter and keeping your engine internals rust-free.
Currently, there are three types of coolants in the market — Inorganic Acid Technology coolant (IAT), Organic Acid technology coolant (OAT), and Hybrid Organic Acid Technology coolant (HOAT). An older 2012 Ford Mustang requires the OAT type, specifically MOTORCRAFT Speciality Orange engine coolant, which should be replaced every 50k miles or three years.
Just like blood runs through your body, different types of fluids keep your Mustang alive and performing. As a result, there’s no need to say that supplying your vehicle with the proper fluids and conducting scheduled replacements is essential for your regular maintenance. Not only will it keep repair costs down, but it will also extend the overall lifespan of your vehicle.
Continually track the coolant, transmission fluid, or engine oil levels in your Mustang and use the manufacturer’s recommended fluid types. You can play with the brands, though, and opt for higher-quality fluids, especially if you drive your Mustang the way it was intended to — fast!