Check your Antifreeze/Coolant Levels Before Summer in Colorado Springs
With the extreme changes in temperatures that our Colorado winters bring, your vehicle’s cooling system has taken a beating. As a result, our Colorado Springs auto repair shop has seen many cracked and damaged radiators lately. Since your vehicle’s cooling system is so important to proper operation, it is a system that needs to be monitored closely.
Most of us know we need to check the oil level in our vehicles on a regular basis, but many of us forget to check our antifreeze levels. With summer breathing down our necks –ahhh, the heat!!- now is the time to check your antifreeze level and condition.
Why is Antifreeze Important?
Antifreeze, or coolant, is critical in keeping your engine from either overheating or freezing. It maintains itself in a liquid state by not turning to steam, where excess heat can do extreme damage, or freeze to ice, where expansion can be harmful. Temperatures in the combustion chamber of your engine can reach 4,500 degrees Fahrenheit, so the cooling system (consisting of radiator, water pump, thermostat, antifreeze, and assorted hoses) is critical in keeping the area around the cylinders and heads cool.
A 50/50% mixture of antifreeze and water is recommended, which protects against freezing down to -34 degrees and protects up to 263 degrees. (In colder areas, a 70% mixture will protect your engine down to -84 degrees Fahrenheit. But do not use a greater percentage of antifreeze, as it can offer less protection against freezing or corrosion). Antifreeze/coolant is also critical in warding off corrosion because of it contains silicates, phosphates and/or borates that keep the coolant solution alkaline (non-acidic). Since today’s antifreeze fluids come in many different colors, be aware of any fluids that accumulate under your car when parked.
Cooling system failure is one of the most frequent causes of engine-related breakdowns, and the resulting repairs can be extremely costly. The correct combination of water, antifreeze and coolant additives is essential for your engine to operate at the correct temperature (always check your Owner’s Manual for your manufacturer’s recommendations). Over time, old coolant will allow harmful deposits to build up, leading to corrosion and ineffective heat transfer within the system. Newer cars are good for approximately 6 years, or 100,000 miles. However, older vehicles (pre-year 2000) should be completely flushed and changed every 2 years, or every 30,000 miles, to maintain effectiveness.
When is the last time you changed your coolant in Colorado Springs?
Be prepared for the winter’s cold! Now is the time to check when your coolant was last flushed and refilled, or talk to your favorite Honest Accurate Auto technician and make sure your antifreeze and cooling system are up to the rigors of this summer’s heat. You’ll be glad you did!