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. With winter breathing down our necks –brrrrr!!!- now is the time to check your antifreeze level andcondition. Antifreeze, or coolant, is critical in keeping your engine from either overheating or freezing. It maintains fluids in a liquid state by not allowing them to turn to ice, where expansion can be harmful, or to steam, where excess heat can do extreme damage. 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).
Cooling system failure is one of the most frequent causes of engine-related breakdowns, and the resulting repairs can be extremely costly. Did you know your engine produces 4500 degrees of cylinder heat when it is burning fuel? The correct combination of water, antifreeze and coolant additives is essential for your engine to operate at the correct temperature (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.
How long has your coolant been in your car?? Be prepared for the winter’s cold! Now is the time to check your coolant to see when it was last flushed and refilled, or talk to your favorite Honest Accurate Auto technician and make sure your antifreeze level is clean and flushed. You’ll be glad you did!