Why Your Radiator and Engine Cooling System are Vital
The moving parts of your engine create huge amount of friction, and where there is friction, there is heat. To reduce the damage to your engine and vehicle by this heat, your car’s cooling system sends coolant (a mix of water and antifreeze) through the engine chambers to absorb all that extra heat, which the radiator removes to allow the coolant to continue circulating. This process keeps temperatures at safe levels, and it protects your engine from damage. A well-maintained cooling system is key to keeping your car running newer, stronger and longer.
But why does coolant need changing?
Your vehicle’s cooling system works a lot harder than you might think. In perfect unison, it has to keep the incredibly high temperatures of the engine from overheating, direct some of that heat to the heater core which is used to warm the interior of your vehicle, and remove the excess through the radiator. As the antifreeze, or coolant travels through the various engine components (most of which are all made from different types of metal) to capture heat, the combined metals together in an electrolytic solution lead to galvanic corrosion, which is very severe. It is actually another job of the coolant to prevent this rust and corrosion, but this process only works when the coolant is at the correct level of acidity. After time, the coolant starts to break down and can no longer do its job properly, which is why a coolant exchange is such a vital part of vehicle maintenance.
It is generally recommended that you have your coolant changed every year, unless you use extended life antifreeze, in which case you should be safe going every two years. However, at an average cost of $90 to $130 it’s a lot less expensive than buying a new radiator or water pump. When you have your oil changed, you should ask your technician to check your coolant for signs of breakdown.
On top of that, new antifreeze will prevent your engine from freezing in the cold winters we have here in Truckee. Also, remember that new antifreeze acts as a lubricator in addition to acting as a rust inhibitor. This is why so many common engine failures can be combatted by routinely replacing your coolant.