Do I need to change the coolant in my radiator?

Question:

My engine never overheats.  Do I need to change the coolant in my radiator?

That's a really good question to ask, because if you don't have the full answer you and your car may end up in trouble. It would seem that if your engine is running at the proper temperature that everything must be OK. But the fact is that engine overheating is the most common cause of mechanical failure. So how do you get from everything is just fine to suddenly overheating and potential engine damage?

Truth is, it is not a sudden process, but it is an invisible one. Your engine coolant circulates through your engine where it absorbs heat and then flows through the radiator by a water pump where it is cooled – and then back to the engine again. As long as the coolant is able to flow freely – and there are no leaks – then the coolant can do its job. This is the point where have to look deeper.

The cooling system is a environment: very hot, with a number of reactive materials like various types of metal, plastics and rubber. Over time the coolant becomes corrosive. Small pieces of metal and other materials flake off and circulate in the coolant. As these bits start to clog up the small passages in the radiator, they cut off coolant flow, leading to overheating. Corrosive coolant can actually eat away at the system and cause leaks as well.

Now new coolant is full of anti-corrosion additives. These additives neutralize the reactions that lead to corrosion. The additives are eventually used up, leaving the cooling system unprotected.

Our recommendation for when your cooling system should be serviced is to follow the information in your owner's manual or at least once every 20,000 miles. We can also test your coolant for freeze point and PH to see if it needs to be replaced (if you've added straight water to the system these numbers may be off). You need to get fresh coolant in there to continue to protect against corrosion.

If you have gone beyond the recommended service interval, you should take care of this maintenance service to prevent unnecessary repairs down the road as soon as possible. Give us a call today or go to our website to make your appointment!

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