Automotive coolant. With Summer upon us we want to share some valuable information regarding keeping you and your engine cool. We’re gonna cover your vehicle’s engine’s cooling system, how it works, and the reasons why it might need some work.

Coolant, also widely known as antifreeze, is essentially the fluid responsible for absorbing and dissipating heat from your engine by flowing through passages within your engine, then out of the engine and through the radiator, where it is cooled off by fast-flowing air going through your grille and is cycled back into your engine. It is made from a mixture of either ethylene or propylene glycol and water, usually at a 1:1 ratio. Coolant service generally means draining and flushing your vehicles cooling system, then refilling it with fresh coolant.

Coolant flowing through your engine can accumulate dirt and rust particles over time, this can clog up your engine’s cooling system and cause serious problems, especially during our extreme Phoenix Summer temperatures. Additionally, since it operates in an extremely hot environment, coolant undergoes chemical breakdowns over time, which breaks down its rust inhibiting chemicals, allowing corrosion to form on your engine and radiator.

If your antifreeze’s rust inhibitors stop working, then your engine’s cooling system will start to rust from the inside out, usually starting with your engine block. Over time, the rust particles which are absorbed into your coolant will also clog the tiny pipes where it flows through the radiator and cause your engine to overheat, very likely resulting in very costly and timely engine repairs.

Generally, when your coolant level is low it usually means one thing: a leak in your cooling system. It may either be an internal or external leak. Internal leaks are harder to deal with and more costly to repair, but both require immediate attention since running low on or running out of coolant poses an extremely high risk of causing catastrophic engine failure.

Your vehicle owner’s manual should tell you how often you need to check and replace your coolant. If you check your coolant level when the engine is cold, it should be at or above the “minimum” line on the transparent reservoir. If your engine is hot, it should be at or slightly below the “max” line. You can tell your engine temperature from looking at the temperature gauge on your dashboard. If the temperature gauge is higher than the halfway mark, your engine may have a cooling problem.

If you plan on going somewhere where the temperature drops below freezing, you might want to check the concentration of your coolant. Diluted coolant can freeze when the temperature drops below freezing and crack your engine and other important components.

It is worth noting that antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste which many pets are attracted to, and that even small amounts can easily kill the average sized pet if ingested. There is no way to make it less appealing to animals without sabotaging its function, but antifreeze made with propylene glycol instead of the more common ethylene glycol is only about a third as toxic. If you have pets, it can be worth taking care to only use propylene glycol antifreeze.

Here at Perez Auto Repair of Phoenix, we can take care of all your automotive coolant issues and keep you and your car cool. If you think that you may be having any problems with your car’s coolant system, call our certified mechanics today to schedule an appointment at 602-269-3576 or stop in at 429 S. 35th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85009 or schedule your service today online by clicking HERE.