Cooling Systems and Coolant Flush
Every vehicle is fitted with a cooling system. This system is responsible to maintain the engine at a consistent temperature whether the outside air temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 below zero. If the engine temperature is too low, fuel economy will suffer and emissions will rise. If the temperature is allowed to get too hot for too long, the engine will overheat and cease to function.
The cooling system is made up of a series of channels inside the engine block and heads, a water pump to circulate liquid through the system, a thermostat to control the temperature of the liquid, a radiator to cool the liquid, a radiator cap to control the pressure in the system, and some plumbing consisting of interconnecting hoses to transfer the liquid from the engine to radiator and also to the car's heater system where hot coolant is used to warm up the vehicle's interior on a cold day.
How does the Cooling System Work?
A cooling system works by sending a liquid coolant through the channels in the engine block and heads. As the coolant flows through these passages, it absorbs heat from the engine. The heated fluid then makes its way through a rubber hose to the radiator in the front of the car. As it flows through the thin tubes in the radiator, the hot liquid is cooled by the air stream entering the engine compartment from the grill in front of the car. Once the fluid is cooled, it returns to the engine to absorb more heat. The water pump has the job of keeping the fluid moving through this system of plumbing and hidden passages.
What is a Coolant Flush?
While you can replace old coolant by draining it out and replacing it with fresh coolant, the best way to properly maintain your cooling system is to have the system power flushed. Power flushing will remove all the old coolant and clean out any sediment and scale along with it.
Power flushing requires a special machine which is connected to the engine block and upper radiator hoses. New coolant and a cleaning agent is pumped through the cooling system in a reverse path from the normal coolant flow. This allows any scale to be loosened and flow out. Once clear coolant is coming out of the system, the cooling system is refilled with the appropriate amount of antifreeze. Then hose from the machine can be disconnected from the engine block and upper radiator. A water pump lubricant and system sealer is also installed for future preventative maintenance. Check your owner's manual for the proper procedures and recommendations for your vehicle.
What are the benefits of a Coolant Flush?
- This cooling system service removes rust, scale and oily residue from your entire system.
- Helps prevent engine boil-over in the summer.
- Helps prevent engine freeze-up in the winter.
- Protects against rust and corrosion-enhancing the life of your cooling system.
- Helps prevent water pump damage and minor leaks from developing.
How Often is a Coolant Flush Needed?
As with most auto services, this varies by vehicle make, model, climate and driving habits. As a general rule, we recommend a coolant flush about every 30,000 miles or five years, whichever comes first. If you have any questions about the coolant system in your vehicle or if you need a coolant flush, please contact the nearest Dunn Tire location.