All About Engine Coolant

How often should you change coolant?

green goo in your car
image courtesy of Wikipedia

For certain cars, you are instructed to change the coolant after you pass 30,000 miles. For other cars, changing the coolant is not too often on the maintenance schedule.

As an example, the Hyundai manufacturer reveals the coolant (many people calling it also “antifreeze”) in the majority of their models, at the initial time the engine coolant should be changed once the car passes 60,000 miles. After that, at every 30,000 miles, the driver should check and change the engine coolant. Also, some Mercedes-Benz models have the same interval – every 30,000 miles, however, this is not the case with all their models. On many of their models it’s 120,000 miles or after 12 years. Still, this is not the end, since some Mercedes models, have 150,000 miles or 15 years tag of changing the engine coolant.

Some of the manufacturers recommend even more often coolant changing  coolant on vehicles confronted with “severe service,” for example frequent towing. The program for the majority of Chevrolets, however, is to change it after 150,000 miles no matter of the way the vehicle is driven.

Today is not uncommon to find and  numerous service shops or dealerships which sell vehicles using “lifetime” coolant. But, regardless if this kind of offers, you need to do it more frequently than the maintenance schedule advises, for example on every 30,000 or 50,000 miles.

Here is the reason why: Many cars use long-life engine coolant (generally a 50/50 combination of antifreeze with water) which is able to provide protection for a number of years, together with minimal maintenance. Advanced automobiles likewise have longer periods between fluid changes of all types mainly because the environmental authority has forced car manufacturers to decrease the quantity of waste fluids that need to be disposed of or reprocessed.

The coolant can become weakened with time and must be tested to see if it is still effective, since it can be difficult to tell just by looks. Even when screening reveals the cooling and antifreeze protection is good, antifreeze becomes more acidic with time and drop the rust-inhibiting properties, leading to corrosion.

Corrosion has many bad practices can harm the radiator, thermostat, water pump and other parts involved in the cooling system, so the coolant in a car with more than 50,000 miles should be tested regularly. It is a good idea for you to watch out for indications of rust and to ensure it has enough cooling protection, even when the cooling system is apparently in working order. It is often inspected with test strips that determine the level of acidity, together with a hydrometer that calculates freezing and boiling protection.

In a case corrosion has harmed some of the parts, the coolant needs to be changed. The cooling system must be flushed to remove pollutants regardless of what the maintenance schedule requires or the number of miles shown on the odometer. On the flip side, if testing reveals the coolant is still effective without any signs of corrosion, changing it more frequently than the manufacturer suggests might be a waste of cash.

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