Coolant can deteriorate over time and should be tested with your annual service or winter check to see if it’s still good, as it can be hard to tell whether you need a coolant change just by looking.
Testing may show that the cooling and antifreeze protection is still adequate. However, the antifreeze can become more acidic over time and lose its properties and lubricants, causing corrosion. Corrosion can damage the radiator, water pump, thermostat and other parts of the cooling system. So the coolant in a vehicle with more than about 20,000 miles should be tested periodically. When coolant is inspected, mechanics to look for signs of rust and to make sure it has sufficient cooling and boiling protection. This is essential, even if the cooling system seems to be working properly.
It can be checked with a hydrometer that measures freezing and boiling protection. If the corrosion protection has deteriorated, a coolant change should be performed. The cooling system might also need to be flushed to remove contaminants, no matter what the maintenance schedule calls for or how many miles the car has completed. On the other hand, if testing shows the coolant is still doing its job and not allowing corrosion. It could be possible that changing it more often than needed could be a waste of money.
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The amount of heat generated by an engine is the equivalent of that required to heat a large house in the winter. As engines and vehicles become smaller and more powerful, they generate even more heat in a confined space. The efficient body designs tend to direct air away from, rather than into, the engine bay. When an engine stands idle in cold weather and has no coolant protection, water in the cooling system will expand as it freezes. This can have sufficient force to crack the engine block or radiator.
Replacing your vehicle’s coolant is the best way to prevent future cooling system problems. Every time you have a coolant change, it is best to do a cooling system flush as well. This will ensure that any low performing antifreeze will have at least 80% of its corrosion products completely removed from your vehicle’s cooling system. With the old antifreeze removed, the new antifreeze will be able to better resist corrosion. With the added corrosion products removed, heat transfer will be restored to its maximum.
Coolant that is still doing its job to protect your engine can be any variety of colors. These include green, red and orange. The key is that it will be translucent. When it’s past its prime, it will become brownish and less clear. If it’s in really bad shape, it will be a sludgy brown. It can take its toll on your vehicle’s cooling system if coolant is left to deteriorate.
Every carmaker recommends a different schedule for flushing the coolant. While we advise using your owner’s manual as a starting point. It’s perhaps more important to regularly look at the condition of the coolant. At Antwis Engineering Ltd we can do that for you. We will ensure the coolant is still able to protect your radiator and other cooling system parts. We’ll also thoroughly check the system’s other components, such as the drive belts, cooling fan, radiator, radiator hoses, water pump and even the radiator cap.