ATC Blog

Keeping Your Cool: How to Address Engine Coolant Before Things Go Wrong

Coolant is one of the essential fluids that keeps your car running at peak performance, but it’s also one that most owners tend to overlook until it’s too late.

The best way to prevent getting stranded on the shoulder of a highway with a smoking engine starts with paying attention to your car’s coolant level.

On the side of the road now? Jump to our safety guide: What to Do When Your Car Overheats.

In the following post, Automotive Training Center got to the bottom of some common coolant misconceptions and explored how today’s coolant is changing.

What Is Coolant and What Does It Do?

Coolant is a liquid mixture made from a 50/50 ratio of ethylene glycol and water.

Coolant’s main responsibility is to keep your car’s engine at its desired temperature for optimal performance. While this is often thought of as cooling the engine down (hence being called “coolant”), in the winter months, coolant protects the inner engine from freezing, which is why it’s also referred to as “antifreeze.”

Why’s It So Important?

Most people understand the value coolant provides in preventing your vehicle from going from one temperature extreme to the other. But, think about how important the temperature of the engine is to your car’s overall performance, specifically how it affects the thickness and effectiveness of engine oil.

Coolant then becomes more than just another car care fluid; it’s one that can dictate your car’s health on a grand scale.

Old Coolant vs New Coolant

Today’s car radiator systems are vastly different from the ones that were found in new models produced even a few years ago. New cars can’t withstand old, silicate-based coolant for much more than 15,000 miles.

To progress, the latest, quality coolant formulas have been engineered to last longer while protecting both new and old systems. In comparison, present-day formulas only need to be flushed out and replaced every five years or 150,000 miles of driving (in accordance with your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations).

Best Practices for Taking Care of Coolant

Five years is ample time to lose touch with your car’s coolant level, and doing so can lead your vehicle down the fast track to overheating. Here’s how to make sure your car’s coolant level stays full and continues to protect and optimize your engine’s environment:

  • Stick to your vehicle’s recommended routine service schedule.
  • Check coolant once a month and refill as needed.

Your service technician should check all fluid levels and top off where appropriate when you bring your car in for routine maintenance, but many times coolant level requires extra care on the part of the vehicle owner.

If you continually need to keep topping off coolant, this could indicate a leak and should be brought up to your technician.

Get More Tips from the Shop

As cars advance, so do the practices and procedures automotive technicians need to perform to help customers get the most out of their investments.

If you’re interested in reading about other crucial services that help maximize a car’s safety, longevity, and overall performance, download Automotive Training Center’s free eBook, How Automotive Technicians Handle Scheduled Vehicle Service, today.

 

For program disclosure information, please go to www.autotraining.edu/consumer-information.

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