If you own a vehicle, there are certain services you need to schedule occasionally in order to keep the engine in good working condition. One such service is an antifreeze flush, otherwise known as a radiator flush. Simply put, you need to change the fluid that regulates your engine’s temperature at regular intervals. Here at Kernersville Auto Center, we have certified technicians ready to flush your antifreeze and take care of any other vehicle maintenance needs.
What is an Antifreeze Flush?
An antifreeze (aka coolant) flush is when we remove all the old coolant from your vehicle, inspect the coolant system for leaks or other problems, and add new coolant to the appropriate level for your vehicle. It’s similar to changing your oil, though you’ll need a coolant flush less often.
Antifreeze has one main purpose: to keep your vehicle’s engine from overheating. As your engine runs, it generates heat. An antifreeze and water mixture runs through the engine to carry the heat away.
Coolant is made from a base of ethylene glycol, with varying additives to help your vehicle run more efficiently. Why not use just water? Well, although water does a good job collecting heat, it also has a relatively low boiling point. Similarly, most of us drive at least occasionally when the temperature is below freezing, which means plain water wouldn’t be able to do its job. Adding antifreeze prevents boiling and freezing so your engine can run smoothly in all temperatures.
Signs You Need a Coolant Flush
Over time, your engine’s coolant system collects dirt and debris as you drive. In the coolant system, this can cause corrosion and rust, build-up that can cause blockages, and inefficient temperature regulation. In other words, dirty antifreeze doesn’t work well. This can cause major problems with your engine. It can even cause your engine to overheat and completely fail.
The number one sign that you need a coolant flush is time. All manufacturers provide maintenance guidelines to tell you how often to change your coolant. Most people should book an antifreeze flush once or twice a year. If you’re not sure, our mechanics can look up the manufacturer recommendations for your vehicle’s make and model.
Another sign that you need a flush is engine overheating. If your engine is running hotter than normal, it could be any number of issues. However, one common problem is that your antifreeze levels are low due to an antifreeze leak. Your antifreeze could also be so dirty that there is a clog in the system. These are both issues we’ll check if your engine is overheating.
Weird sounds or odors coming from your engine can also indicate the need for a coolant flush. In general, you should always bring in your vehicle if something seems off. Knocking or grinding noises or a “hot” smell could indicate you need an antifreeze change.
What to Do if Your Antifreeze is Leaking
Sometimes, your antifreeze may not be too dirty, but the levels are low. This can happen if there is a leak somewhere in the system. When we change your fluids, we always inspect the entire system. This helps us spot problems before they happen. However, if you notice that your engine is overheating, your coolant levels are low, or there is a colored puddle of fluid under your car, you could have an antifreeze leak.
Antifreeze is an extremely dangerous chemical. Just a small amount is enough to severely harm humans and animals. If you see an antifreeze leak under your car, it’s important to clean it as soon as possible and bring in your vehicle for repair. Antifreeze is typically a bright color. It used to be green, but today it comes in other colors as well, such as pink or orange. This can help you distinguish it from oil or water under your vehicle.
This article has more information on how to figure out if you have a leak and what to do about a leak.
Other Common Maintenance Your Engine Needs
Along with a radiator flush routine, your vehicle needs other regular maintenance in order to stay in good working condition. We can help you get on the proper schedule based on your make and model. Necessary vehicle maintenance includes:
- Oil Changes
- Maintaining your brakes
- Changing your air filter
- Tire rotation and alignment
- Replacing the battery
- Inspecting all belts and hoses, and replacing as needed
- Replacing your windshield wipers
Additionally, you’ll need an annual North Carolina vehicle inspection. In most counties, you’ll also need an annual emissions test. We can perform your vehicle inspection, as well as get you back on the road fast if you need any repairs.
FAQs About Radiator Maintenance and Repair
If you have an antifreeze leak or need a coolant flush, we would love to help. Here are a few frequently-asked questions we get about this kind of service:
Can I drive my car to your shop if it is leaking?
If you have a small leak, you can fill your antifreeze to the top and slowly drive to our shop. With a large leak, however, such as a hose blow-out, you’ll need to have your vehicle towed. Driving it, even a few miles, could cause severe engine problems. If you’re not sure, call us and we can give you a recommendation about whether it is better to drive it in or have it towed.
Is it okay to simply use “stop leak” products to repair an antifreeze leak at home?
In most cases, these products are not going to be a long-term solution. However, if you have a small leak, these consumer products could help you plug a leak long enough to drive it to our shop. Because antifreeze is so vital to your car, we recommend always having a leak repaired by professionals.
If you need maintenance or repair, give us a call today to schedule your appointment. You can also click here to easily and quickly book an appointment online.