anti freeze

Tips on How to Use Antifreeze

How often does my car need its antifreeze changed or coolant service?

Next to oil changes, antifreeze is one of the most common fluid changes for your car. Oil changes are easy to track because you hear so much about them through commercials and from your routine maintenance mechanic. But there is great confusion among drivers about how often they need coolant service.

You should never wait until your car has problems for coolant service. There are some signs that your car is overdue for this routine maintenance service. These five signs that you need the antifreeze changed include:

  • A higher than usual temperature gauge reading when your engine is running
  • Leaking and puddling of green or orange fluid under your vehicle
  • Grinding noise coming from the engine compartment
  • The cooling liquid has bits of rust in it
  • You smell a scent like boiling maple syrup coming from your car’s engine or see steam rising from it

What is antifreeze?

Antifreeze and coolant are the same fluid called by different names. This fluid keeps the engine cool year-round and yet keeps it from freezing in winter, too. It is a mix of ethylene or propylene glycol with water.

During routine maintenance service, your mechanic adds antifreeze to your car’s cooling system. This system pumps the fluid through the radiator and the rest of the engine as part of the cooling process. The liquid captures heat from the engine to reduce its temperature and keep it running as it should. Without this cooling, your engine overheats and breaks down. An overheating engine can damage head gaskets, the heads themselves and other parts.

Even in the lowest winter temperatures and despite containing water, antifreeze will not turn into ice. This characteristic enables the fluid that keeps your car from overheating to also keep it from freezing when it is sitting still. This makes it important to have coolant service often enough to keep the fluid levels high and the whole system running cleanly. Otherwise, you risk engine breakdown as said before, along with system corrosion problems.

How often does my car need its antifreeze changed or coolant service?

One reason why fewer people know how often to have this fluid changed when compared to an oil change is because this service is performed much less often. In fact, most late model vehicles do not require coolant service until they reach 100,000 miles. But older vehicle models may need clean antifreeze before 100,000 miles.

Letting the fluid grow old is unhealthy for your engine. As the fluid ages, it can cause acid buildup or becomes contaminated by scaling or rust. Either of these conditions break down the efficacy of the coolant, making it less resistant to temperature extremes. In turn, your engine runs too hot or does not start in the winter.

What Antifreeze and Coolant Service Includes

When you take your vehicle into Carolina Mobile Auto for coolant service, your trusted auto mechanic performs multiple checks. They inspect your radiator and the rest of the cooling system to ensure it is working as it should. They drain the existing coolant and replace it with new fluid.

You may hear the terms “coolant flush” and “coolant drain and fill” when talking to your mechanic. These are actually two methods of performing the coolant service:

  • A coolant flush involves first adding a chemical to remove buildup and debris from the cooling system. A machine then cycles out all of the old fluid, replacing it with new fluid.
  • A coolant drain and fill uses gravity to pull the fluid out of the system. It is then replaced by clean fluid refilled by your auto mechanic. This is the decades-old method used for antifreeze replacement.

Schedule Your Coolant Service Today

Do not wait until you notice any of the five signs that you need antifreeze replacement service before calling Carolina Mobile Auto for scheduling. Of course, if you have not had coolant service in the last few years or if your car is reaching 100,000 miles, it is probably a good time to bring your vehicle into our Winston-Salem auto repair shop. Schedule this essential routine maintenance today by calling 336-765-8599.

Carolina Auto Service