close up shot of a mechanic pours green coolant a vehicle's coolant reservoir

How Coolant Fluid Keeps Your Car Running Smoothly: A Comprehensive Guide

Published on Jul 14, 2023 by Matthew Kroll

Welcome to Kunes Auto Group's blog, your trusted source for all things automotive. Today, we're unpacking everything you need to know about coolant fluid and its essential role in maintaining your vehicle's performance.

Decoding the Purpose of Coolant Fluid

Coolant fluid serves as the lifeblood of your vehicle's cooling system, playing a pivotal role in controlling the engine's operating temperature. The engine operates similarly to a regulated explosion, requiring a certain temperature range to perform at its best. 

 

No matter the outside conditions, hot or cold, the coolant fluid ensures that the cooling system, including the radiator, keeps the engine at the perfect temperature. In simple terms, coolant fluid acts as a warm blanket in the winter and a misting fan in the summer.

The Journey of Coolant Fluid in Your Vehicle

The coolant system in a car functions in a cyclic fashion, circulating a blend of water and antifreeze through your radiator to manage the engine's temperature. The coolant fluid absorbs heat generated by the engine, transporting it to the radiator for cooling. As a result, if the coolant levels are insufficient or diluted, it can impair the system's efficiency and potentially cause overheating.

The Breakdown of Coolant and Antifreeze

As the mileage on your vehicle increases, the protective additives in the coolant/antifreeze can diminish. This leaves your car vulnerable to expensive repairs, and could even lead to engine failure. Even though conventional coolant/antifreeze has the shortest life, it's essential to remember that not all vehicles are compatible with "long life" or "extended life" antifreezes. Over time, all coolants eventually get contaminated with debris from your engine's cooling system.

Signs Indicating a Need for Coolant Exchange or Inspection

Several indicators signify coolant problems:

  • Low coolant levels: This may imply a leak in your cooling system.
  • Discolored coolant: A change in coolant color or cloudiness indicates contamination or depletion of additives.
  • Engine overheating: This could be the most severe indicator of coolant problems.

The Different Types of Coolants

There are three popular coolant types in the market:

  • Conventional green coolant/antifreeze
  • Dexcool™ coolants
  • Hybrid OAT antifreeze and coolants

The differences lie in the specially formulated additives each one carries. Your owner’s manual will provide specifics on the best coolant for your vehicle.

The Necessity of a Coolant Fluid Exchange

Similar to other engine fluids, coolant fluid also deteriorates over time. The coolant contains additives that prevent boiling, freezing, and corrosion. However, when these additives are depleted, contaminants and debris may begin to build up in your radiator, thereby impacting its performance. Therefore, it's crucial to perform a coolant fluid exchange regularly.

How Often to Go In For a Coolant Exchange

Here's the thing: different vehicles require coolant exchanges at different intervals. Some vehicles are equipped with long-life fluids right from the assembly line, reducing the need for frequent servicing.

 

However, if your vehicle isn't among the lucky ones, you may need a coolant exchange every 15,000 miles. For accurate information on coolant replacement, always refer to your vehicle's owner’s manual.

Advantages of Performing a Coolant Fluid Exchange

Ensuring that your vehicle operates at an ideal temperature is crucial. Old or insufficient coolant can lead to overheating, which can result in serious issues like damaged gaskets, warped cylinder heads, and damage to your water pump and radiator. Therefore, it's essential not to ignore rising temperature gauges and to have your coolant checked before reaching a critical point.

What Does a Coolant Fluid Exchange Include at Kunes Auto Group?

At Kunes Auto Group, our coolant fluid exchange service entails a comprehensive system inspection, flushing of the coolant system, refilling with appropriate antifreeze, and adding sealant/lubricant. Plus, our expert technicians will perform a thorough under-hood inspection to ensure all parts are in top shape.

How Our Service Differs from a "Drain and Fill" Coolant Service

While we do offer a "drain and fill" service, this can leave a significant amount of old, dirty fluid in the system. For optimal performance, we recommend our more comprehensive coolant fluid exchange, where we flush out the old coolant and replace it with fresh, high-quality coolant.

 

At Kunes Auto Group, we prioritize the health of your vehicle. For professional coolant exchange or replacement, schedule an appointment at your local Kunes Service Center today.

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