It keeps the engine from overheating, but is it antifreeze or coolant? You can pick up a jug at the auto supply store, but which type is best for your car? The master mechanics at our Apple Valley, MN service center share four things you need to know about your car’s cooling system and the fluid that keeps it running.
It’s Antifreeze and Coolant
Whether you call it antifreeze or coolant, your friendly car repair pros know what you’re referring to. It keeps your engine from freezing up during our Minnesota winters and overheating during the summer.
The ethylene glycol that circulates through your car’s cooling system conducts heat from the engine to the radiator. Air passing through the grill cools it down, and it cycles back through the system.
Old Coolant Hurts the Engine
As it circulates through the system, coolant picks up contaminants and particles. Over time, it loses its effectiveness, and that can cause serious engine problems. Oil seals dry out, crack, or even melt.
Bad coolant can result in a warped cylinder head or a cracked head gasket. Old coolant impacts the water pump, and it affects piston timing. The contaminated fluid hurts your engine regardless of outside temperatures.
There Are Warning Signs
Antifreeze needs to be replaced every year or two. If you haven’t had your car’s cooling system flushed lately, look out for these signs of trouble.
- The temperature gauge runs higher than normal.
- Your car’s interior heater doesn’t work.
- You notice a decrease in gas mileage.
- After driving, the car’s hood is overly hot to the touch.
Check It Regularly
Most car manufacturers recommend a specific coolant for their models. Check your owner’s manual or ask your dealer. You can also top off your system with an aftermarket brand from the auto supply store.
Reference the manual again for specifics on monitoring coolant levels. The fluid is poisonous, so be very careful when topping off your car’s antifreeze. Flushing and replacing coolant is a job best suited for your local auto service center.
We Can Answer Your Questions
When you stop by our Apple Valley, MN shop, you can call it antifreeze or coolant. We understand, and we can answer all your questions about maintenance routines and car repair. We’re here for you with seven locations across Minnesota, so just drop by the Kennedy Auto Service center nearest you.