How a Cooling System Service Helps Your Car Beat The Heat
There's a furnace in your car. Don't believe me? Consider your car's engine, its multiple cylinders undergoing many thousands of combustion cycles--basically controlled explosions--each minute as yoru car cruises down the highway or even idles at the stoplight.
These fiery combustion events generate tremendous heat, heat that would easily destroy even the heartiest engine if not for that helpful mixture of water and alcohol called coolant (or antifreeze). This mixture circulates through your engine, absorbing that harmful heat and trasnferring it to your car's radiator, where--true to its name--the heat is "radiated" out of the car and into the ambient air.
But what happens when you mix metal and liquid? In a word, corrosion. That's why a properly formulated and blended coolant/antifreeze mixture has excellent anti-boil and anticorrosive properties.
"Green coolant is typically considered the traditional fuid present in most vehicles. It is usually recommended to drain, flush, and replace green coolant every two years or 30,000 mileas," said Sarkis Aroyan, a senior engineer with Penray. "Orange coolant, often referred to as Dex-Cool or organic acid coolant, is considered an extended-life coolant and is found in most GM vehicles. There is an abundance of other colors--like fuchsia, red, blue and yellow that are variations of different formulas and often designed for specific applications. With all the different colors and chemistries available, it is more important than ever to maintain the cooling system."
Because the additives in coolant break down over time, it's important to havec the cooling system flushed at regualr intervals, a process that invovles forcing a new coolant/antifreeze mixture through the entire cooling system, forcing or "flushing" old fluid out and leaving your car's coolant/antifreeze in like-new condition. Plus even "extended-life" coolant may break down far sooner than the service interval recommended in your owners manual (or become contaminated), which is why experts recommend that drivers ask their auto service technician to check the color, clarity, freeze point and chemical protection of their coolant at every maintenance interval. These few simple test can indicate whether the coolant is providing adequate levels of protection. "Because the coolant affects so many parts of a vehicle, a properly maintained cooling system significantly decreases the possibility of vehicle downtime," Aroyan said.
So keep that blast furnace lurking beneath your car's hood under control by having your cooling system inspected and maintained on a regular basis.
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The above article was written by Garrett McKinnon and was published in the Summer 2011 edition of Vehicle MD.