When To Change Engine Coolant
As each car engine runs, an immense amount of energy is conjured in order to keep the different mechanisms operational. However, about one-third of the energy that is produced by the engine will end up as waste which escapes through the exhaust system or will take form as stagnant heat energy. If left uncooled, such high temperatures can potentially result in the engine overheating followed by a breakdown. This is where engine coolant comes in to save the day.
With a careful mixture of about 50% water and 50% antifreeze, engine coolant effectively regulates the temperature via the engine cooling system, then it ensures that water in your vehicle’s radiator system doesn’t freeze in the winter or boil in the summer. Using a process of heat exchange, the heat energy is able to be removed and the water is allowed a moment to cool down so that your engine can run safely. But for such an important ingredient toward the success of your vehicle, the question still remains; when is it time to change engine coolant? Let’s go over the common coolant service intervals you should be focusing on, as well as some of the more critical signs that a coolant flush may be needed immediately.
Unlike many other areas of your vehicle which may need consistent attention, the coolant provided with the purchase of a new vehicle can last a significant amount of time without the need for constant inspection. However, the additives which are found in antifreeze that prevent corrosion can deteriorate over time just like engine oil. With a simple quality check, you can determine if it’s time for a coolant flush to replace the outdated antifreeze. These days, most experts recommend receiving a coolant service at shorter intervals than manufacturers recommend. For instance, Chevrolet advises going for a coolant service every 150,000 miles driven, while many mechanics have sworn by checking on the coolant every 30-50,000 miles. Similar to many other vehicle components, the kind of driving your performing can affect the lifespan of your coolant quality as well.
If you determine that your coolant has degraded in quality past the point of return, it’s important to visit your car shop for a coolant flush as soon as possible. A more concerning observation would be the levels of your coolant sinking over time, which can be seen on the coolant expansion tank. If you notice the level of your coolant lowering past the “min” mark, then it almost certainly indicates a leak that requires immediate attention.
If left unchecked, the aging antifreeze has the potential to become more acidic. The more acidic your chemicals become, the more harmful the coolant becomes to the thermostat, radiator cap, water pump, and radiator. With the help of a professional, test strips to measure the acidity of your coolant can be utilized to check if your antifreeze has gone bad. While the coolant system is quite a sleeper as far as maintenance is concerned, staying on top of these few warning signals can surely save a ton of headache and potential damages in the future.