Cooling System Maintenance..in Winter?
They call it “coolant,” right? It’s supposed to keep the engine from overheating in summer months, right?
Well, that’s not quite the full story.
Coolant is a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water. While it circulates through the engine’s water jackets and helps dissipate excessive heat, it also prevents the system from freezing up in extreme cold temperatures. A freezeup can mean that the engine’s freeze plugs get pushed out as the coolant freezes and expands, or in the worst case it can mean a cracked block or cylinder head.
We’re not likely to see that sort of extreme cold in St Lucie, FL, obviously. But here’s another point to remember…
The vehicle’s heater is part of the cooling system. Hot coolant circulates through the heater core, which is under the floorboard or behind the dash on the passenger side. The heater core looks like a tiny radiator, and a valve or damper controls the amount of coolant flowing through the heater core and allows you to adjust the temperature inside the passenger compartment. The heat is then directed through the ducts and vents to the floor, the dash vents or the defroster, and forced through by means of a fan.
Coolant contains anticorrosion agents that help prevent the buildup of scale and corrosion deposits in the tiny passages of the radiator and heater core. If the heater core or radiator start to corrode, it can impede flow through the system and lead to overheating – or in the case of the heater core, it can impede your ability to heat the passenger compartment or run your defroster.
While the manufacturer’s specs and service intervals vary from model to model, it’s imperative to have your cooling system flushed and refilled at regular intervals. A flush also includes a pressure test that checks the hoses, radiator, water pump, hose clamps and thermostat for potential leaks and weak spots.
If you haven’t done a flush-and-refill of your cooling system for awhile, it’s not a problem. Our technicians can test the condition of your coolant and make recommendations…make an appointment with us at St Lucie Battery & Tire soon!