Summer is inching around the corner, which brings high temperatures and scorching sun. Kids will soon be getting out of school and you may be toying with the idea of taking a summer road trip. Before you load up the family and pack the car full of everything you might need, consider bringing your car into Car City for a cooling system check. Those hot summer temperatures might be appealing when you’re dipping your toes into a pool, but they become much less so when you’re standing on the side of the road and your car has overheated. Here’s a few tips on why it’s important to have your cooling system checked.
The Level of Coolant
Your cooling system uses coolant as one of the components to keep the engine from overheating. By regularly checking your coolant level, you’ll notice if there’s a significant drop in a short period of time. Coolant levels will slowly decrease as some coolant evaporates into the air, but a rapid drop in coolant level can indicate a leak. If you notice a coolant level drop or your coolant hasn’t been checked recently, be sure to bring your car in to have the entire cooling system checked out.
The Strength of Coolant
Though coolant types vary from car to car, the strength of coolant mix of antifreeze to water is very important for a functioning vehicle. Whether your car typically experiences hot temperatures or cold, the antifreeze in coolant is pertinent to keeping your car running smoothly all year round. A coolant with 50 percent ethylene glycol antifreeze to 50 percent water will protect your car from the elements up to a boiling point of 255 degrees and a freezing point of -34 degrees. A 50/50 mixture of propylene glycol antifreeze and water will provide protection up to 257 degrees and down to -26 degrees. The mixture of antifreeze to water can vary depending on the protection that your car needs and the average temperatures in the place where you live. Your technician will be able to assist you in deciding which coolant and water to antifreeze ratio is best for your car.
The Chemical Condition of Coolant
All coolant may look the same, but that doesn’t mean that the chemistry is the same. Most coolant is approximately 95 percent ethylene glycol with the rest of the solution being corrosion inhibitors and other additives that protect your cooling system. If these additives are allowed to deplete completely, the antifreeze can cause internal corrosion and damage to your cooling system. It’s important to allow a trained technician to test your antifreeze to make sure that it’s still viable. For most antifreeze, there’s no way to look at it and know if the additives are still present or not.
This guide of why you should have your cooling system and coolant checked before leaving on a road trip educates you on ways to prevent an overheated engine or two. Happy summer!