Coolant Flushes – Taking Charge of Car Maintenance

The primary job of coolant, or antifreeze as it is sometimes called, is to transfer excess heat from your car’s engine to the radiator. The coolant absorbs the heat and moves it to the radiator where it is dispersed into the air. It is also distributed through the heat exchanger into the passenger area of your car when the heating system is used. While water alone could transfer the heat, its affects would be too corrosive to the engine. For this reason coolant is used, which is comprised of a 50/50 ratio mixture of ethylene or propylene glycol and water.

Why are coolant flushes necessary?

Over time, the beneficial elements in coolant breakdown since it functions in such a hot and hostile environment. When the coolant’s rust inhibitors get depleted, the confined cooling passages in the engine and radiator are vulnerable to corrosion.

The engine block is the main source of rust in a car’s cooling system. Eventually rust deposits can accumulate and clog the cooling system and radiator. This causes overheating, which is the most common cause of engine damage and breakdowns. A coolant flush and fill will prevent these deposits and overheating.  Having a coolant flush and keeping the coolant fresh is definitely less expensive than repairing a heater core or radiator, or head gasket.

How often are coolant flushes necessary?

The typical time frame for having a coolant flush is two years or 30,000 miles. See your owner’s manual for your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.

Next in our Taking Charge of Car Maintenance series, we will look at Transmission Service.