Proper Radiator Maintenance and Care
Many people take a vehicle's cooling system for granted. We generally don't even think about radiator maintenance or the cooling system until the car overheats when we're already late for work, or when we smell antifreeze and notice a bright green puddle on the driveway. But just like any other system in your car, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping the radiator properly filled, flushed and serviced by a trusted auto repair center will ensure your cooling system runs its best, prolonging the life of your engine.
Keep the radiator filled
Under optimal conditions, your cooling system should be sealed and self-contained, meaning that once the radiator is filled, it should stay full. In many cases, however, small leaks can emerge (even if you aren't dripping antifreeze), causing a slow drainage, and eventually affecting your car's ability to keep the engine cool. Check the radiator every so often when the car is cool, and add antifreeze/coolant mixture if you notice it is low. If you notice this happening regularly, you should take the car in to an auto repair expert to check for leaks.
Use the right mixture of antifreeze/coolant
Do not use straight water in your radiator, except in emergencies. Water is not an effective coolant, and it will not keep your engine from freezing in winter temperatures. Likewise, undiluted antifreeze/coolant is expensive and won't be more effective in protecting your radiator or engine. For most climates (including Everett and northwest Washington), a 50/50 mix of antifreeze/coolant and water offers the best protection against both overheating and freezing.
How often to do a radiator flush?
Flushing the radiator periodically (i.e., draining and refilling the coolant) should be a regular part of your radiator maintenance. This can be done by any qualified independent auto shop, not necessarily by the dealership. There is no set schedule for radiator flushes—it depends on the type of vehicle and the type of coolant you use. That said, it's a good idea to consider a radiator flush at the following times:
- For older vehicles—every 2 years or 40,000 miles, whichever comes first
- If you're using “long life” antifreeze—every 4 years or 50,000 miles
- If the antifreeze looks cloudy
- If your cooling system seems to be running inefficiently, or if you see leaks
Don't ignore warning signs
If you notice abnormal activity with the cooling system, the sooner you have it checked out, the better. If you start seeing leaks, smelling antifreeze, or experience overheating, these are obvious signs of trouble—but even if your vehicle starts running hotter than “normal” without overheating, it could be a sign that the cooling system is running inefficiently. When in doubt, take the car to the mechanic and have it looked at.
For trustworthy and affordable radiator maintenance and other auto repair services in Everett, O.N.B. Automotive has been providing outstanding service to the community for nearly 15 years with their honest, no-nonsense approach; they can be reached for more information at 425-317-9618.
O.N.B. Automotive Blog
Written By Brian Corey
Published By MORBiZ