The coolant in your car plays a vital role in how well it operates in extreme heat, extreme cold and everything in between. Caring for your coolant system should be part of your regular car maintenance. How can you tell if your coolant needs to be replaced and if your vehicle is in need of a flush?
What Does Coolant Do?
Coolant is a liquid that passes through your vehicle’s water hoses, radiator, water pump and internal engine passages. It works hard to make sure that your engine doesn’t overheat. When coolant levels drop, the fluid becomes too dirty, or the engine places too much debris into the coolant, it is unable to do its job. Engines in modern cars are not designed to withstand high heat for extended periods of time, so if the coolant cannot do its job, you could cause serious engine damage that leads to major repairs.
Why Does Coolant Need to Be Flushed?
Coolant, like other liquids in your car, will naturally deteriorate over time. Once the liquid starts to deteriorate, it will not do the same effective job of cooling down your car when things get hot (or cold). Coolant also naturally picks up debris and rust from the engine as it circulates, which leads to discoloration, degradation and the debris being placed elsewhere in the engine. Regular flushing and replacement help prevent the coolant from losing its efficacy.
When Should You Flush the Coolant?
Check your manufacturer’s guidelines first to get a baseline of how often you should expect to change your fluid and flush the system. The answer varies greatly depending on what type of vehicle you drive, when it was manufactured and what kind of coolant is used. Some cars need a flush every 30,000 miles, while others can make it longer before requiring a change.
There are other signs that indicate your coolant should be changed soon, including:
- Vehicle temperature gauge rising close to the danger zone when driving
- Coolant leaking
- Hissing sounds or steam rising from underneath the hood
- When completing a visual inspection, noticing any cracks or leaks in the hoses and belts near the radiator
- Your coolant level being low
- Discoloration in your coolant
- A low coolant warning light
- Cold air coming from your vents when the hot air is turned on
Why Does a Properly-Maintained Cooling System Matter?
When your coolant is old, the amount of antifreeze in it can be too low to properly cool your system. Even when temperatures are not hot during the summer, coolant still serves an important purpose. If you don’t properly maintain your cooling system and top off your coolant levels, you will not experience:
- Freeze protection
- Overheating protection
- Lower levels of thermal stress in your radiator and engine
- Poor heating efficiency
Do You Need a Drain and Refill or Flush?
The two most common coolant services are the drain and refill and the flush. Flushing is more complex than draining and refilling, which is why you should always trust a professional repair shop with the task. All of the fluid in the system will be drained out, and everything will be thoroughly flushed to remove old debris, rust particles and anything else that could prevent optimal performance.
Tommy’s Hi Tech Auto Can Care for Your Cooling System
Tommy’s Hi Tech Auto has been keeping drivers in the Denton, Texas area on the road since 1991. When you need great auto care backed up by excellent customer service, you can trust Tommy’s. To schedule an appointment or get in touch, give us a call at 940-222-4491 or email us at email@example.com.