Radiator and Transmission Maintenance

How and Why to Change Your Antifreeze and Coolant


Bookmark and Share

Do you know why you have antifreeze coolant in your vehicle's radiator? An engine produces extreme amounts of heat when it is operating. The cooling system pumps antifreeze coolant through the engine to draw heat away from it.  \That is why cooling system and radiator maintenance is key to having a healthy automobile.

Antifreeze coolant should be used in a 50/50 mixture with mineral free water. This mixture protects water in the cooling system from freezing, raises the boiling point of the water and aids in preventing rust buildup. It is easy to check the level of antifreeze coolant and this is something you should do a couple of times a year to make sure there are no leaks in your system. Since changing the antifreeze coolant is not difficult, you should change it every few years to ensure maximum cooling protection.

To check or add antifreeze coolant, open the car's hood and locate the coolant storage container. It is a plastic side tank that is usually clear. There will be a small hose running from the storage container to the radiator filler neck. The container will have places on it to indicate whether your fluid levels are low or high. Remove the storage container cap and pour the radiator fluid in. If the storage container is empty, then fluid needs to be added to the radiator as well.

When changing your antifreeze coolant, ensure the engine and radiator are cool to the touch. Never remove the radiator cap on a hot engine, as the fluids and steam could violently erupt and burn you. Center a low-rise drain pan under the radiator drain spout and remove the radiator cap. Rotate the drain valve knob until you see fluid coming out. Allow enough time for all of the coolant to drain out, then close the drain valve. Pour the used radiator fluid into an EPA approved container for proper disposal. Keep the container in a safe place until you finish performing your radiator maintenance.

Using a hose, fill the radiator with water. Drain the water from the drain valve, and repeat this until the water coming out is clean and clear. Fill the radiator about halfway with water. Using antifreeze coolant, fill the radiator 2 to 3 inches from the top. Do not put the radiator cap on yet. First place the vehicle heater on high heat. Start the engine, and let it run until the thermostat opens. When this happens, the level in the radiator will suddenly drop. At this time, continue filling the radiator with the required 50/50 mixture until full. Some of the fluid may start coming out of the radiator, but this is normal. Place the radiator cap back on and continue running the engine. Once you have run the engine for about 15 minutes, turn it off. Make sure the reserve container is full, and monitor its level for the next few days.

Neglect of the cooling system and failing to do radiator maintenance is one of the main causes of engine failure. Why pay a repair shop when you can do the job for a lot less money?

Bookmark and Share