What is coolant, and why is it important?
Coolant, or antifreeze is one of the more important fluids used in one's vehicle. This fluid, along with engine oil, is essential to ensuring the vehicles engine runs smoothly. It helps the vehicle from overheating, preventing damage to the engine. Proper maintenance and regular checking of your engine coolant levels can save you from costly engine damage.
How to check your engine’s coolant level:
Knowing how to check your engine coolant, and properly check it is as essential as knowing how to check your engine oil. Try to make it a habit to do a visual check of the coolant level in the overflow bottle with every second time you fill up on fuel (we also recommend checking your oil at this time as well). Do not remove the radiator cap when the vehicle is hot, as it will cause hot fluid to possibly get on the vehicle, or yourself.
If you notice you are low fluid, or if the vehicle is overheating - DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE. Stop your car, call roadside assistance and get it towed to your mechanic. There could be either an internal or external leak. By pulling over and not driving, you are saving your vehicle from damaging the engine, which would be a costly repair.
How does coolant work?
The primary purpose of coolant is transferring heat and preventing engine damage caused by freezing or boiling. Heat can only be effectively transferred with a liquid in the system, so it’s crucial to keep your coolant from freezing or evaporating. Coolant is the fluid that absorbs heat from the engine and then dissipates it through the radiator. It is also dissipated through the heat exchanger in the passenger compartment when you crank your heat in the winter.
The main components to the cooling system are radiator, hoses, overflow bottle, thermostat and cooling fan. Below is a simple diagram of how the cooling system flows:
How often should it be serviced?
Coolant can become more acidic over time and lose its rust-inhibiting properties, causing corrosion. Corrosion can damage the radiator, water pump, thermostat, radiator cap, hoses and other parts of the cooling system, as well as to the vehicle heater system; and that can cause a car engine to overheat. Every manufacturer will have a different service interval based on the type of coolant used in your vehicle; one can find this information in the owner's manual. As a shop, we recommend servicing your vehicle's coolant every 80,000 km's.
A coolant service is one of the many things we can do at Excel, so give us a call today to keep your vehicle happy!