About Radiator Flushes

Dear Tracy,

Can you tell me what is involved in a radiator flush and why it is important to have this service?

Lydia C.

Dear Lydia,

Regular radiator flushes are an important part of your vehicle maintenance. The job of your radiator is to provide cooling to your car’s engine by getting rid of the heat produced during its operation. The cooling system works by circulating a coolant through the engine block. This absorbs the heat and reroutes it to the radiator where it can be expelled into the atmosphere. This keeps excessive heat from damaging the engine.

Over time as you drive, solid deposits form in your car’s radiator system, creating blockages that make coolant circulation far less efficient. This results in the vehicle running hotter and damage being done by the excessive heat build-up. Periodic  radiator flushes prevent this problem. During a radiator flush, the existing coolant is drained from the radiator and replenished with a coolant mixture that cleans the system. The cleaning occurs as the engine is allowed to run at normal temperature for a period of time. The fluid circulates through the vehicle’s cooling system, dissolving any solid build-up inside the radiator channels and flushing it away. To complete the process, the cleaning  mixture is drained and replaced with a standard formula of coolant and water. A few hours will be needed for a radiator flush since the vehicle will require time to cool down completely during the various phases of the service.

The recommended schedule for radiator flushes can vary according to vehicle manufacturer recommendations. Schedules depend on engine specifications and the variety of coolant that is used. Radiator flushes are usually recommended once every 2 years or 30,000 miles. In regions that experience extreme seasonal weather shifts, seasonal radiator flushes may be advisable.

Airless Tires Roll Into Paris Motor Show

According to CNET reporting, many new concepts were revealed at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, held this past week, but as far as I am concerned, the most exciting was Bridgestone’s second-generation prototype of its Air Free tire. This design improves upon the debut prototype, introduced in 2011, with better shock absorption.

Bridgestone is not alone in its pursuit to perfect the airless tire. You may recall my post about airless tires for military vehicles, or have heard about other airless tire concepts in the works from manufacturers including Michelin and Hankook.  But Bridgestone’s release of this newest prototype indicates that the industry leader may be close to having a consumer product ready to roll out within the next few years.

Bridgestone’s Air Free tire design replaces the cushion of air in conventional tires with an array of shock-absorbing resin bands that resemble thick, angled spokes. The outer surface of the airless tire is coated with a replaceable tread comprised of a thin band of solid rubber.

While improvements have been made to the Air Free tire’s shock absorption, there is still an issue of lateral stiffness that needs to be worked out before it is ready for market. Testing is set to begin with Toyota single-passenger vehicles within a year.

In addition to eliminating the hazards posed by blow-outs, the Bridgestone Air Free tire is designed to be completely recyclable, meaning that it would be safer for the environment while providing a safer ride.