A coolant flush can help keep your vehicle’s engine in good working condition, especially during the hot summer months here in North Carolina. At Kernersville Auto Center, we can take care of all your vehicle maintenance needs, including a cooling system flush near me. But does your car really need a coolant flush? And how do you know when you’re due for one? Here’s everything you need to know about your cooling system.
What is Coolant?
Coolant is the liquid you get when you mix together antifreeze and water. This liquid is as important as oil in your car. You might not need a coolant flush as often as an oil change, but without proper levels of coolant, your vehicle can easily break down.
As you drive, your engine produces heat. The coolant, which is a mixture of antifreeze and water, runs through your engine to carry that heat away via the radiator.
Antifreeze is made from ethylene glycol or propylene glycol and typically has additives to prevent corrosion. Water helps keep these additives suspended in the liquid. However, water freezes if the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you couldn’t drive your vehicle during the coolest parts of winter with water alone. It also boils fairly quickly, so your vehicle would start to overheat pretty fast without antifreeze.
You can use pure water in a pinch if your car is overheating due to a leak. Water can allow you to get your vehicle to our shop for a full flush and repair. However, this is a very short-term solution.
In short, you need both antifreeze and water to create the best liquid for your cooling system. Most coolants have a 50/50 water to antifreeze ratio, but some brands may call for a different ratio. Additionally, you can’t just mix antifreeze with tap water. You can use distilled water, but the best option is de-ionized water (soft water). This will prevent minerals from building up in your radiator or other parts of your cooling system.
When Do You Need a Cooling System Flush Near Me?
In general, most people do not need to have a coolant change as often as they need an oil change. Your vehicle maintenance manual will let you know when you should schedule a flush. If you aren’t sure, one of our certified mechanics can let you know the best coolant flush schedule for your make and model. We can do a cooling system flush near me when you bring your vehicle to our shop for other maintenance needs.
You may also see signs that your vehicle needs a cooling system flush or repair. Some common signs include the following:
- Engine overheating – a problem with your cooling system is the number one reason your engine might overheat
- A “hot” or burnt smell when you are driving or a sweet smell coming from the engine
- Grinding or knocking sounds coming from the engine
- A brightly-colored puddle under your car
Your dash may also indicate that you have a low coolant level. If this happens, you can add pre-mixed coolant or water and carefully drive to our shop, as long as you’re not too far away. However, you’ll want to bring in your vehicle for a full cooling system inspection as soon as possible. We can check for any leaks, do a full flush to remove old coolant and clogs, and add new coolant to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.
If you don’t do regular flushes, your coolant level could get low, you could experience clogs, or you could be using dirty, ineffective coolant. This all spells trouble for your engine.
FAQs about Cooling System Maintenance and Repair
We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about your cooling system. Here are a few common maintenance and repair questions we get:
What should I do if I break down due to a coolant leak?
If you have a small/slow leak, you can add pre-mixed coolant to reach the proper level and slowly drive to our shop for a full cooling system repair and flush. However, if you have a major leak and the coolant just runs out as you add it, do not attempt to drive your vehicle. An overheated engine can be impossible to repair. Instead, have your vehicle towed to our shop.
How much does a coolant flush cost?
This depends on your vehicle make and model and the specific coolant you choose. We can give you a full price break-down before we start the flush so you know exactly what you’ll pay.
Can I replace my antifreeze myself?
While you can do your own coolant flush, we don’t recommend this unless you have experience. You’ll need to make sure you completely clean out the system, as well as check the radiator, hoses, and pumps for corrosion, small leaks, build-up, and other problems. At our shop, not only will experienced and certified mechanics do the flush, but we’ll also check your other fluid levels to make sure your vehicle is in great condition.
How can I avoid cooling system problems?
Like with most vehicle problems, cooling system problems are most commonly cause by poor maintenance. Many radiator repairs could have been completely avoided by simply sticking to a vehicle maintenance schedule. This includes not only regular coolant flushes, but also changing your air filter, changing oil and oil filter, rotating your tires, checking and replacing your brakes as needed, and otherwise having your vehicle checked regularly by skilled mechanics.
If you aren’t sure if you need a cooling system flush near me or other vehicle maintenance, set up an appointment today. One of our mechanics can check over your entire vehicle and make recommendations based on your make and model, as well as your driving habits. Click here to schedule an appointment.