When thinking about what your car needs to stay in great condition, oil changes are probably at the top of the list. However, your coolant should also be changed and flushed on a regular basis. Failing to have your coolant flushed can cause your engine to age faster than it should and lead to costly repair bills. How can you tell whether or not you’re due for a coolant flush?
What Is Coolant?
Coolant is a special mixture of water and alcohol. It’s sometimes referred to as antifreeze, and it helps to absorb the heat that your engine generates when it runs. Coolant runs through a reservoir attached to your radiator, and it constantly circulates into your engine and back into the radiator.
Coolant is essential because over 50% of the energy that your engine produces while you drive is converted into heat. The exhaust system gets rid of some of that heat, but a great deal of it stays in your engine block. The coolant will absorb the heat and prevent your engine from overheating. If you chose to go without coolant, your engine could reach temperatures far beyond what it can handle, and you would need to invest serious money in repairing it.
Why Should You Maintain Your Coolant System?
A well-maintained cooling system will offer you:
- Freeze protection
- Improved efficiency
- Less thermal stress on your radiator and engine
- Protection against overheating all year long
- Reduces rust and corrosion in your cooling system
- Extended lifespan of all rubber and plastic pieces in the coolant system
- A reduction in electrolysis, which leads to engine component erosion
How Often Should Your Coolant Be Changed?
You should typically pay attention to what your car manufacturer suggests first. Some cars need a coolant flush every 30,000 miles, but other cars need one only every 60,000 or 120,000 miles. For cars that regularly carry heavy loads or operate in warm parts of the country, coolant flushes should be completed more frequently to account for the stress that the engine regularly undergoes.
Coolant naturally deteriorates over time, so it can be tested to see if it is still good. It’s hard to guess whether or not the liquid is still good based on sight alone. When coolant degrades, it becomes more acidic and loses its efficacy at preventing rust, which leads to corrosion. Corrosion is terrible for your car, and it can do serious damage to your thermostat, radiator cap, hoses and radiator. If your vehicle has over 50,000 miles on it since the last time your coolant was flushed, testing it should be part of any vehicle maintenance check-up that you have performed.
While you might think that coolant is most important during the hot months of the year, it’s also important during the winter. If your car experiences cold temperatures, your engine might have trouble turning over in the morning. The same can occur during warm periods. If your coolant overflow reservoir level fluctuates over the course of the day, particularly during periods of hot or cold weather, it’s a sign that your coolant is probably not working as well as it should, and a coolant flush and replacement can help to recalibrate the system. If you smell antifreeze, it’s another indication you should swap out your fluid.
Keep Your Automobile and Coolant System in Great Shape with Thunderbird Automotive
Thunderbird Automotive is a leader in auto repair and maintenance in Phoenix, AZ thanks to our awesome customer service, broad range of repair services and expertise. To learn more about our services and get your vehicle checked out, please contact us at (602) 938-3631.