Why is it Important to Replace Your Antifreeze?

 In Tacoma Automotive Repair

Antifreeze basics

Antifreeze (coolant) is an extremely important liquid to have in your vehicle. Without it, your engine could either overheat and seize up or freeze. Here are some things to keep in mind about this important liquid. Antifreeze is water-based but more stable than water would be on its own. Just using water in your engine would present a couple of problems. The first problem is that water turns into steam when it heats up and can pass over cylinder walls into your engine. The second is that it freezes. 

Why do vehicles need antifreeze?

Chemicals are added to maintain the stability of the water in your engine. Ethylene glycol or propylene glycol are used as binding agents to keep the water in your engine balanced and help keep it from freezing or turning into steam. The right balance of mixture is usually 50% water and 50% ethylene glycol or propylene glycol (antifreeze). To give you an idea of the kind of damage you can expect from freezing, without antifreeze, water in your engine can expand and crack your engine block. That’s an expensive vehicle repair.  

Antifreeze also keeps your engine cool when you stop in traffic when the wind stops flowing through the radiator. Your engine runs optimally between 45 and 70 miles per hour. At these speeds, the antifreeze circulates more quickly and moderates temperatures more efficiently. When antifreeze doesn’t circulate, the glycol content can lose its binding effect and separate from the water. Heat binds the two as it circulates through the engine. 

How often should you have your system flushed?

You should flush your coolant system every 3 to 4 years. If you let coolant go longer than that, it can become acidic and start eating at your radiator, pumps, seals and cause corrosion inside your engine that results in rust. For the best results, you should have your antifreeze checked every 30,000-50,000 miles, depending on where you live. 

Call (253) 292-1639 to schedule your next car service. 

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