Coolant: When to Check It and When to Change It
Coolant is vital to your engine. Without the right type, amount, and proper circulation of coolant, your engine won’t last long. How do you know when it’s time to check it or replace it? Camarillo Independent in Camarillo, CA has the answers.
First and foremost, it must be stated that you should never attempt to do anything to your cooling system while the engine is hot or even warm. Most modern vehicles have a plastic overflow tank that isn’t under pressure, but never remove a radiator cap unless you are sure the engine is cool. Even then, it’s good practice to open the cap with a rag between your hand and the cap, just in case.
Your coolant level should be checked any time you get a tune up, or along with oil, transmission, and brake fluid level checks. If your coolant is low, it needs to be topped off; just be sure you use the right type of coolant and maintain the appropriate water to coolant ratio. Every car is different, so the manual or your mechanic must be utilized to ensure it’s done correctly. If your car needs to be topped off frequently, you have an internal or external leak, and a problem that need to be addressed. Let one of our technicians at Camarillo Independent know if you have coolant loss and need it checked out.
Coolant can also expire, in a sense, meaning it can break down and cease to work effectively. There are special tools and equipment designed to gauge whether or not your coolant is still good. It is usually a good idea to get the condition of your coolant inspected prior to winter and freezing temperatures.
Your coolant doesn’t actually need to be changed that frequently – for most vehicles it’s about once every 5 years or 30,000 miles, but the owner’s manual may specify otherwise. If you bought your car pre-owned, it’s a good idea to go ahead and get it done, so you know for sure it has been taken care of. You should also get it changed if it looks dirty, or if there is visible sediment in the coolant. Typically, sediment will build up on the radiator cap or in the overflow tank. If you see dirt or debris, it’s time to have the cooling system flushed.
Your temperature gauge or light is also a good indicator of your vehicle’s coolant situation. If you ever notice the engine is hotter than it should be, shut it off immediately and have it serviced. Overheating can be harmless if caught early but will destroy an engine if ignored.
If you’d like your coolant level checked, the coolant itself inspected, a leak fixed, or a coolant flush, visit Camarillo Independent today and let us take a look. We’ll make sure it’s done right, helping to keep your car running strong this winter.