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Scheduled Maintenance – An Engine Coolant Guide

Scheduled Maintenance

Your vehicle requires different fluids to keep everything running smoothly. Engine coolant is one of these and it plays a very important role in the scheduled maintenance of your car. Here’s all you need to know about the engine coolant for your car.

What Is Engine Coolant And How Does It Work?

Coolant is the liquid that runs through your engine to keep it running within its recommended temperature range. Otherwise known as anti-freeze, coolant is made up of an approximate 50/50 mix of water and ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is an odorless, colorless liquid that helps to control your engine’s temperature.

Coolant is pumped through different channels in the engine block and cylinder head. The coolant removes heat from the metal and then passes through the radiator. In essence, coolant keeps your engine from freezing or overheating and protects your engine from corrosion.

How To Check And Top-Off Your Coolant Levels

Engine coolant is easy to check. Most coolant tanks are quite accessible when you pull up the hood. Your coolant tank should have a top-level line indicator on it so that you know how much coolant to put it. Make sure that your coolant is always in line with this indicator.

It’s also important to check the condition of your coolant because it can deteriorate over time. Symptoms to check for are:

  • No color left in the coolant
  • A strong odor from the coolant
  • The presence of rust or oil in the coolant
  • Small particles that are visible in the coolant

Antifreeze testers are easily available and simple to use. Coolant system services should form part of your scheduled maintenance at reputable auto repair facilities. Getting this checked out regularly will help prevent any of the above conditions from happening.

Flushing Out Your Coolant System

Coolant deteriorates over time and tends to lose its effectiveness. Coolant that’s left in a car’s radiator for longer than its meant to will also increase the chance of rusting around the radiator and the cooling passages. Over time, a rusting cooling system will lead to blockages which may result in a clogged radiator. The general rule of thumb is that coolant should be flushed out every two years or every 20,000 miles. Although your coolant may outlast this time frame, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

At times your coolant may appear to be sludgy. This shouldn’t be cause for immediate concern as sometimes this can simply be a result of scale build-up or the presence of hard water. This should still be reason enough to flush the older coolant out and refill with new coolant.

Refilling Your Coolant System

A cooling system is complex and you shouldn’t attempt to try and refill without the knowhow. A professional auto repair facility will ensure that any coolant warning signs are picked up and fixed quickly.

When it comes to draining your cooling system, you need to let the engine cool and then take the cap off of the expansion tank. You will then need to remove the drain tap or remove the bottom hose. After this, the bleed screws on the connections need to be opened to allow for the coolant to drain.

When you refill, you will then need to do the above in reverse order. The coolant will then need to be poured into the expansion tank until it’s about an inch above the top-level line indicator. You will then also need to fill up the radiator and then run the engine until it reaches the right temperature.

When it comes to refilling your cooling system there are many different coolants available. Antifreeze can range in color from red, blue, yellow, and even pink. There are also universal antifreeze brands are also available, but it’s always wise to consult your car’s manual before you refill your cooling system with an unknown coolant.

To get the best engine coolant advice and service, it’s recommended that you take your car into a reputable auto repair facility to get the best advice and service. Foreign Affairs Motorsport is one of these reputable facilities. Call us today and allow our team of highly-trained professionals to give your cooling system the expert service it deserves.

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