The cooling system in your engine is extremely important. Because the engine’s main source of power is combustion, there is quite a bit of heat generated. This isn’t the only source of heat, however. There is also heat generated from the friction created when other parts of the engine and surrounding components interact and function. This heat is capable of deforming most metal parts, and definitely non-metal pieces, like timing or drive belts. Because this heat is so powerful, and can be so destructive if not controlled, engines are designed with cooling systems. The water pump, engine fan, vents, and places where air can pass through are all means of keeping things cool under the hood.
How does the cooling system work?
The cooling system starts with the water pump. The pathway that it follows is through the engine block where the hottest parts of the chemical reactions, combustion, takes place. The coolant starts in the water pump and goes through the engine block, picking up heat from the cylinders. It then travels up to the cylinder head(s) where it picks up more heat, and through the radiator hose to the radiator. At the radiator, the coolant travels through a series of flat tubes, where air is able to pass around the tubes and cool the coolant. In this way, the engine recycles the coolant so that it is able to be reused. There is also a pathway to the heater core that sits in the dashboard of the car. This supplies heat in the cold weather to your cabin to keep you warm!
What is a coolant flush and why would you need one?
The coolant flush is a complete replacement of the coolant in the engine. The reason you might want to do this is because antifreeze is designed to raise the boiling point and lower the freezing point of water. It also has additives that protect the engine by preventing rust and acidity and providing lubrication. If antifreeze goes bad, it will become acidic and actually eat away at the metal in the engine. After a period of time, a coolant flush is a good way to clean the sludge and grime that can accumulate from bad coolant out of the engine. While people do opt to change their coolant themselves, it can be helpful to take your car to a trusted mechanic so you can be sure they are using the correct fluids on your car. If you use the wrong coolant for your engine, it can result in your coolant not performing its job correctly. Mechanics also have equipment for coolant flushes, which in the long run, will be more efficient in the running of your engine. Our technicians at Advanced Auto Sports are always happy to answer any questions you might have about coolant or coolant flushes.
How do I know when it’s time to get a coolant flush?
Well, one way to know is the opaqueness of your coolant. It should be bright and clear. Red, orange, and green are common coolant colors, but if they look muddy, then it’s probably time to change your coolant. If you unscrew the cap to your radiator and look inside, you might see a sludge buildup underneath the cap and surrounding area. If you go to your coolant reservoir and use a turkey baster to pull some of the coolant out and put it in a cup, it will be easier to see if the coolant is muddied. When you slowly poor the coolant back into the reservoir, it might leave behind metal pieces or residue in the cup, a sure sign that it is time for to change your coolant, and that it might be a great idea to flush all of the sludge and grime out of your engine altogether.
You can always feel free to give our mechanics a call at Advanced Auto Sports, or schedule an appointment here.