Many of us neglect our car and then complain when our vehicle breaks down. Yet, if we remembered to perform regular maintenance on our vehicle, we could avoid some costly repairs. In particular, today’s modern engines require changing fluids on schedule for optimal performance. Any type of dirty fluid in your engine can lead to a major component failure. For example, dirty coolant can lead to an antifreeze leak, causing an overheated engine, and a blown head gasket.
One of the reasons why most consumers put off car maintenance is not being able to find a qualified mechanic. In fact, 66 percent of drivers don’t trust car repair shops in general. However, If you live in Kernersville, finding a reliable mechanic is easy. Xpress Lube of Kernersville is a full-service auto repair and maintenance shop.
As a local business, we work hard to maintain great relationships with our customers. For over 24 years, we’ve been providing the community with excellent service and integrity. Whether you need a state inspection, preventative maintenance, or a major repair, you can trust us for professional service.
An Overview Of Your Engine’s Cooling System
A vital component of your car’s engine is the cooling system. Its purpose is to remove heat produced by the combustion process. Generally, a car’s engine runs best at a temperature of 200° F. Without liquid coolant, your engine could easily reach 4,500° F. Clearly, the engine compartment can get toasty! This is precisely why we need a coolant system.
Different components work together to keep your engine at the optimal temperature. Your radiator cap has the job of keeping the pressure constant within the system. As the engine coolant heats up, it expands increasing its volume. Since the system is enclosed, the pressure of the fluid increases. By increasing the pressure, the radiator cap raises the boiling point of the coolant by 45° F.
When the pressure becomes too great, the radiator cap allows coolant to flow to the coolant reservoir or expansion tank. Then, as the temperature of the coolant drops, the pressure and the volume decrease. The vacuum valve on the radiator cap allows coolant to flow from the expansion tank back into the radiator.
The thermostat is responsible for keeping your coolant at a constant temperature. When the coolant is cold, the thermostat will prevent the engine coolant from flowing to the radiator. Instead, the thermostat directs the coolant back into the engine. Once the coolant heats up, a valve in the thermostat opens allowing coolant to pass through the radiator.
Finally, your water pump is the component that keeps the coolant circulating through the engine. In an endless loop, the coolant will pass through the engine block picking up heat. As it passes through the radiator, the coolant releases this heat.
What Is Coolant/Antifreeze In Your Engine?
An engine’s coolant has a dual purpose, to control engine temperature and protect surfaces with anti-corrosive agents. Your engine operates at extremely hot temperatures. So hot, that without coolant, metal parts would warp and become irreparably damaged.
Your engine’s coolant is a mixture of water and antifreeze. All mechanics advise against using either 100% water or antifreeze in your engine. At the high temperatures your engine runs at, pure water would boil and evaporate. Similarly, anti-freeze alone isn’t efficient enough for removing heat from your engine.
In addition to lowering the freezing point and raising the boiling point of water, antifreeze has special additives. Manufacturers add corrosion inhibitors to protect your engine. These additives settle when in their base material losing their anti-corrosive properties. However, when you mix antifreeze with water, these additives stay suspended to provide protection.
Years ago, every car used the same green antifreeze. However, today you can find antifreeze in orange, red, blue, and yellow in addition to green. Your car will require a certain color, based on the automaker’s engine design.
If you’re not sure which antifreeze is right for your car, bring it to Xpress Lube of Kernersville. We can check your car for an antifreeze leak, paying particular attention to those troublesome spots like your radiator hose. Furthermore, we can check your coolant level and replace it if necessary. Notably, we use Halvoline® products. Halvoline® scientifically formulates its antifreeze to deliver long-lasting protection.
Change Your Coolant According To Schedule
The condition of your engine coolant is just as important as the level of fluid. Dirty coolant fluid can cause problems in your engine from running hot to seizing up.
Whichever color antifreeze your car uses, it should be translucent. As it becomes dirty and worn, it will turn a brown, opaque color. Very old antifreeze will be sludgy.
Dirty, contaminated antifreeze cannot properly cool your engine. Sludgy coolant cannot flow freely through the parts of your engine. Thus, your engine will run hotter than normal and you run the risk of your engine overheating.
Automakers vary widely on the recommended time frame for changing coolant. Check your owner’s manual for your car’s specific requirements. Or, you can bring it down to Xpress Lube of Kernersville. We’ll check your coolant and make recommendations based on your type of automobile. While you’re with us, we can also check your oil, transmission, and brake fluid.
Don’t Wait If Your Coolant Is Low
As your car ages, you can develop leaks in your cooling system. Hoses become hard and brittle with time developing cracks. Hose clamps can loosen or become damaged. Gaskets too can wear out. Because of the intense pressure, coolant can leak through the tiniest of cracks.
In newer cars, low coolant will cause a warning light to illuminate on your dashboard. You may also notice that the indicator on your temperature gauge is reading “hot”. Finally, you can also experience hot air coming from your A/C vents.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to have your mechanic inspect your car as soon as possible. Driving your vehicle with low coolant can cause serious damage to your engine. Without enough coolant, you run the risk of your engine overheating.
One consequence of an overheated engine is a blown head gasket. This gasket sits between the engine block and cylinder head. It seals the internal combustion process while keeping coolant and oil from mixing. When your engine overheats, the engine block and cylinder head expand beyond limits pinching the head gasket. Now the gasket can no longer prevent fluids from mixing causing even more damage.
How To Check For Coolant Leaks
Sometimes it’s obvious that you have a coolant leak. You’ll see a puddle the color of your antifreeze underneath your vehicle. You may also see that your engine is running hot. However, sometimes you can have a small or internal leak that is harder to detect.
Begin by first checking your level of fluid. When your engine is cool, twist off the radiator cap to check the level of coolant inside. The fluid should be about 1 inch from the top of the radiator. Add some coolant fluid if your level is low.
Next, drive your car until it’s fully warmed up. Then park it on some clean dry pavement and let the engine cool down. After about 15 minutes, check under your car and hood for wet spots. Wet spots indicate an external leak.
You may also detect the smell of antifreeze, a sweet aroma, without noticing any wet spots. If you can smell antifreeze, but can’t locate the leak, have your mechanic look at it. This could be the indication of an internal leak.
Whatever type of leak it is, you need to fix it promptly. Even a slow leak can negatively affect the health of your engine.
Some Common Engine Components Where You May Find An Antifreeze Leak
Often, fixing a coolant leak can be as simple as tightening up a loose hose clamp. However, before you begin to think about solutions, you need to find out the location of the leak.
Typically, it’s very common to develop a radiator leak. Often made of metal, radiators are subject to corrosion. As your coolant ages, it loses its anti-corrosive properties. Once corrosion begins, it’s only a matter of time before you have a leaking radiator.
Even if you take good care of your car, you can still develop a radiator leak. First, the drastic temperature changes that occur in the engine create stress. Sometimes this stress can lead to cracks and leaks. Occasionally road debris can also cause punctures in your radiator.
Similar to your radiator is the heater core. This is the component that warms up your vehicle’s cabin on a chilly day. Your heater core is essentially a small radiator subject to the same stresses as your radiator. If you develop a leak here, you’ll notice a sweet smell inside your car.
Sometimes, you may be able to fix an antifreeze leak if it’s a simple fix like a loose clamp. Other times you need a qualified mechanic to make repairs. At Xpress Lube of Kernersville, we perform over 30 common automotive repairs including your engine cooling system.
Keep Your Car Looking Great Too!
Lately, many consumers worry about indoor air quality in their homes. But what about your car? Bacteria, viruses, dirt, grime, and mold may inhabit the carpeting and upholstery of the interior of your car. A survey conducted by AAA found that U.S. drivers spend nearly an hour behind the wheel each day. That’s at least one hour of breathing in harmful pathogens living in your car.
Moreover, dirt and grime will tear away at the fibers in your carpet and upholstery, damaging them. Neglecting your interior will cause premature wear. However, you can deep clean and remove these contaminants with full detailing services from Xpress Lube of Kernersville. Not only will your car be cleaner, but you’ll be protecting your investment.
During the winter months, road crews salt roads to prevent ice formation. Unfortunately, salt is highly corrosive to your paint. But who wants to wash their car when it’s 30° outside? With our carwash, you can stay toasty inside your car while we gently sweep dirt and grime away.
We have 3 convenient ways to pay for your carwash: a pre-paid pass, a monthly pass, or pay as you go. Our pre-paid passes make wonderful gifts for that hard-to-buy-for person.
Scheduled Maintenance Helps Protect Your Vehicle
Your car’s engine has many different components working in harmony to transport you from place to place. These components rely on clean fluids to maintain their optimal efficiency. Ignoring or even delaying maintenance tasks can detrimentally harm your engine. Yet, many consumers put it off because they can’t find a reliable mechanic.
Mac Allen recognized this need to provide reliable automobile services in a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere. For over 2 decades, he has provided high-quality service at a fair price at Xpress Lube of Kernersville. Our staff of 4 ASE-certified technicians, 5 NC inspection technicians, and supporting staff will make you feel at home.
Whether you need your engine oil changed, transmission repaired, or engine cooling system maintenance, we’ll provide fast, efficient service. We do over 30 automotive repairs and maintenance tasks on both domestic and foreign vehicles.
If you’ve been putting off any car maintenance, it’s only a matter of time before you experience car problems. Don’t wait another day! You can easily schedule an appointment with us using our convenient online form. Once you use our services, you’ll soon understand the loyalty of our customers.