Coolant is extremely important to regulate high temperatures. It is an essential fluid for all types of vehicles. With most of us always driving to specific destinations on a daily basis, we expose our engine to the dangers of intense heat emanating from continuous internal combustion every day. So let’s figure out how often we should replace the coolant to ensure the longevity of our engines.
Important terms you should know
Since we are talking about coolant maintenance, let’s first understand some relevant terms:
The coolant works directly with the radiator to regulate engine temperature. So it is only appropriate to understand this essential component even better. Fortunately, the function of the radiator is easy to understand. Radiators have a complex system that rapidly cools a hot coolant before the liquid returns to the engine for more heat. Since a radiator removes heat from the hot coolant – if we look at the big picture – it actually removes the heat completely from the engine. That is why it is generally regarded as that Star of every cooling system.
It’s amusing how two different things are considered exactly the same by most people. Coolant is only half antifreeze; the rest is water. That Standard coolant ratio 50:50 is best suited for high and medium temperatures. To start a car in winter, the essence of the coolant is lost, since you have to use more antifreeze.
Water and antifreeze work perfectly together, each making up for what the other lacks. Antifreeze is useful in extreme temperatures because it has a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than water. Whatever it is not really effective at isolating heat from the engine. Water works better when it comes to that. The downside, however, is how water causes corrosion. See, one can’t live without the other to keep the cooling system going. That’s why there are coolants.
Well, that’s the correct synonym for coolant. There is no difference at all unlike the case between coolant and antifreeze. We explained earlier that the main function of coolers is to protect the engine from overheating. This is only possible with a coolant that transports the heat. So, technically, coolant is the radiator fluid.
That’s actually the technical term for coolant change. It aims to keep metal parts safe Corrosion from old antifreeze.
The radiator is only part of the vehicle’s cooling system. It works with other components namely the pump, thermostat and special passageways to and from the engine.
In order to easily understand how the cooling system works, let’s just focus on the main function of each component. First the Pump forces coolant into engine. Next, the thermostat waits for the coolant to warm up. Once the coolant gets enough heat from the engine, the thermostat allows it to flow to the radiator.
When the coolant reaches the radiator, it passes through several tubes just to reach the radiator’s fins. Often a special fan helps the radiator transfer heat from the coolant to the air surrounding the radiator. To complete a cycle, the thermostat ensures that the coolant is cool enough again for the liquid to return to the engine.
How often does the coolant need to be changed
If we base the answer on what the automakers say, the range is too wide based on product claims. It goes from 60,000 miles to 150,000 miles.
However, there is no harm in inspecting the cooling system for signs of corrosion every 50,000 miles. This can also happen if your vehicle’s coolant is still working. There are test strips that can check if the cooling system fluid is starting to turn acidic. Additionally, a hydrometer is helpful as it can measure the boiling and freezing points of the system.
If you notice rust in the cooling system, you should change the coolant. Your vehicle needs a radiator flush to remove contaminants.
How to change the coolant
Here is a quick guide on how to do a radiator flush:
First, consult your owner’s manual to determine what type and amount of coolant your vehicle requires. Then make sure your car is parked on a level surface if you still need to use a jack.
You’ll need a bucket under the car, under the radiator, to catch the old coolant that’s flushed out. So if your car is too low for a shovel underneath, you really need to jack it up.
To be on the safe side, disconnect the car battery. Remember that you should not start coolant maintenance until the car has already cooled down.
First, locate the drain valve on your radiator. If you are unsure of the location of your radiator, it is usually in front of the engine bay, at the back of the car’s grille. You are more likely to see a fan on the radiator. Then you should see metal or plastic tanks next to the aluminum component. Expect a drain valve on the driver’s side, specifically on one of the tanks. However, it is best to read your owner’s manual first as some vehicles have different drain valve placement.
Make sure your bucket can hold all of the radiator fluid. Then position it under the car as expected, specifically under the dump valve. Finally, open the valve to drain the coolant. Then close the valve to secure the new coolant you will add later.
Don’t just dump the coolant anywhere. You really need to know how to properly dispose of hazardous auto fluids.
To keep the radiator completely free of old coolant, you should fill it with a jug of water for the next step. Before entering your car to start the engine, tighten the radiator cap. Increase the heater in the cabin for 10 minutes or until the temperature gauge reaches the red zone. Turn off your car immediately if your engine starts to overheat.
Allow your car to cool down first before draining the remaining radiator fluid. You should be able to touch the radiator without burning your fingers before proceeding. You can wait more than an hour for it.
Finally, you can now fill the new coolant into the radiator. Do it slowly to avoid overflowing. Make sure the cooler is properly filled. Then turn up the heat again for 10 minutes, just like before. The reading should remain at the normal level even until 10 minutes have elapsed.
An occasional coolant change is practically non-existent in some vehicles due to their extremely high mileage intervals. However, feel free to inspect your cooling system every 50,000 miles. If corrosion is present, you should consider the need for a radiator flush.