Despite our balmy winter weather most days, vehicle owners should prepare to add antifreeze or coolant this winter. The last thing you want is an unexpected costly repair bill on top of your holiday spending.
Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a toxic colorless, odorless and sweet liquid. If concentrated, the additive should be diluted to 50 percent antifreeze and 50 percent water. Do not simply fill your cooling system with water.
Antifreeze, commonly referred to as engine coolant when it’s a 50-50 solution, stops water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing during those cold winter days and nights. It also raises the boiling point of your engine to keep it from overheating. Freezing or overheating can cause major or fatal damage to your engine, causing your car or truck to stop running.
Additionally, antifreeze keeps your engine running smoothly by preventing rust from forming on gaskets and other cooling system components. It aids in heat transfer and eliminates scale formation. Water naturally contains calcium and magnesium that can lead to a mineral buildup, or scale, on cooling system surfaces. Scale 1/16 inch thick reduces heat transfer efficiency by 40 percent in your engine.
Steps to Take if Water Freezes in Your Cooling System
A relentless screeching noise or immediate engine overheating are a dead giveaway that your cooling system has frozen. It becomes imperative you switch off the ignition and stop driving. If not, engines have been known to explode.
Give your engine time to thaw. This may take days, if parked outside. But if it can be moved safely inside a warm garage or structure it should thaw more quickly. Speed up the process by pointing a fan heater at the front of the radiator. Do not get back behind the wheel until the engine has completely thawed out.
Finally, take your car or truck to your trusty auto shop and drain and flush the entire cooling system. Replace the fluid with high quality antifreeze/coolant.
Time for a Cooling System Checkup?
Generally, your car or truck should undergo a coolant service every 30,000 miles or three years, automotive experts agree. Check your manufacturer’s owner manual for its recommendation.
Your vehicle often alerts you to bring it in for care. The automobile industry says signs include:
- Temperature gauge fluctuates between normal and hot
- Antifreeze/coolant pools under the vehicle
- Grinding sounds come from the engine area
- Visible rust and/or scaling in the antifreeze/coolant
- Steam and/or hot maple syrup-like smell comes from under the hood
DeBroux Automotive Offers Cooling System Service!
Whether you need to simply add antifreeze or coolant this winter or have a radiator flush done, come by DeBroux Automotive! We will make sure your car or truck gets properly protected and give you peace of mind. Call us today!