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Do You Actually Need a Coolant Flush?

As a responsible driver, you may be very good about keeping your car maintained. You may wash it at least once a week, make sure your gas tank is full, and check your tires for tread wear and proper air pressure. Every few months or few thousand miles, you may get your oil changed, and have your transmission and power steering fluid levels checked as well. You may even make sure all of your exterior lights are functioning, and possibly check your air filters and wiper blades.


But how often does the you think about your engine cooling system?


Engine coolant — more commonly referred to as antifreeze — doesn’t require changing or refilling as often as oil or fuel, so it’s easy to disregard this part of the car’s upkeep until it’s too late. While the oil and fuel make the engine run, the coolant keeps the heat from the combustion and friction of the internal parts from locking up the engine and stopping your car in its tracks.


Proper maintenance to keep the coolant system running efficiently and ensuring that it is dirt and rust free requires a coolant flush. Manufacturers, dealers, and mechanics have varying opinions on when a flush should be done, but a good rule of thumb is to perform a flush before the 100,000 mile mark on your vehicle. Ideally, somewhere in the range of 40,000 to 60,000 miles is a fair standard. Coolant flushes are often included with your larger 30,000, 45,000, or 60,000 mile services.


Having a coolant flush performed by a mechanic is pretty economical, but the process is simple enough for a car owner to perform their own flush. Some technicians suggest simply draining the old fluid and replacing it, but a full flush assures that the lines are clear of pollutants for maximum efficacy.


Once the used coolant is emptied out and responsibly disposed of, distilled water is put in followed by a bottle of coolant flush. The engine is started so that the new cleaning mixture can run through all parts of the system to catch any gunk that may not have drained the first time. Then, after the water/flush combination is drained — and hopefully comes out mostly clear — the radiator is filled with fresh coolant, preferably a 50/50 mix. The 50/50 antifreeze solution ensures an adequate balance of antifreeze and water in the radiator, so that it can prevent an engine that’s already too hot from overheating, and an engine running in freezing temperatures from getting too cold. It is important to make sure whatever coolant formula you use matches the specifications of your car as per the manufacturer.


Without the coolant flush, the ramifications can be extremely serious.  A vehicle that’s overheating can leave you stranded on the side of the road, and worse yet — lead to thousands of dollars in engine damage.   It is important to note, also, that you should never remove a hot radiator cap because this could be extremely dangerous.


We depend on our cars a lot, so keeping them well maintained is very important. The best thing you can do for your car is to keep yourself abreast of all of its maintenance schedules so you can prevent major breakdowns and keep your engine running smoothly. The more familiar you are with your car, how it functions, and its maintenance requirements, the better you can take care of it to prevent future costly breakdowns.


For more information about Burlington Automotive, you can contact us by phone at (360) 757-8282, or at our website, here. Also, we will be running a  promotion for the month of September —  $15.00 off each coolant flush.This is the ideal time to bring your vehicle in to check for that and any other maintenance needs you may have, to keep your car road ready and avoid expensive repairs.

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