HOW CAN I TELL IF MY CAR NEEDS COOLANT?
You spend a lot of money on your vehicle. The average car loan lifetime is about 60 months. That’s not to say all the other things you pay into your car – insurance, services, gas. You also spend a lot of time in your car. It is extremely hard to live in Southern California without a car. The public transportation system isn’t the greatest and Uber can get costly. So as a responsible car owner, you can avoid unnecessary repairs by just focusing on simple basics. You don’t have to know every intricate detail about your car (although it’s recommended), just knowing the basics can save you a lot on costly repairs not to mention emotional pain from all the stress car issues bring.
Your car contains many different liquids that make the entire car function properly. The most common known liquid is gasoline. You probably know this because your car will literally stop without it. But there are other liquids that don’t require such frequent attention, nonetheless, vitally important. Coolant is one of them. Coolant is a mixture of antifreeze and water that circulates throughout the engine to regulate temperature. As the engine works to keep the car running, it can create an intense amount of heat. It can get as hot as 1000 degrees. The cooling system will work concurrently to cool the engine to maintain an appropriate level, providing fuel efficiency and proper functionality. The job of the cooling system is to regulate engine temperature for maximum fuel economy, power and component life as well as minimal emissions. If you neglect to maintain the cooling system, then the car will overheat and eventually break down.
In other words, just as humans need water, cars need coolant. Unlike drinking water, you are not going to feed antifreeze to your car daily. By regularly servicing your car, you can monitor your coolant needs. However, as life has it, repairs typically happen unscheduled. The good news is there are indications you can look for if your cooling system is failing.
YOUR CAR SMELLS!
Coolant has a sweet odor. So if you detect a sweet order when you pop your hood, then it is likely that your car is leaking coolant. Also, the coolant sweet smell can create a film that will stick to the windshield. So if you see Make an appointment to get it checked.
LIGHT TURN ON
All cars have an indicator, on your dashboard, that will alert you if the temperature of the car is rising dangerously high. On most cars, it is typically a picture/icon of a temperature gauge, and when activated, it lights up. If this lights up as you are driving, it is possible that the car is experiencing an overheating due to a coolant leak. The hoes encasing the coolant could be cracked or broken. Pull over and allow the engine to cool down a bit. Access the situation. If the crack is small, you can probably take care of it yourself by talking to someone at the local car supply shop like Pepboys or YouTube the process. Don’t worry if you aren’t comfortable DIY a car fix. Just make an appointment with your trusted mechanic.
There is a temperature gauge, also on your dashboard. When driving, it typically stays somewhere in the middle. This is normal when the engine is running smoothly. However, if it is higher or lower than normal, its an indicator that your cooling system is hindered in some way. Sometimes it’s leaves blocking the cooling system, sometimes it’s something worse. Schedule a diagnostic test with a certified technician
IT’S NOT GETTING HOT, IN HERE
The heater runs off the same coolant as the cooling system. There’s a valve that regulates coolant flow through the heater in order to control cabin temperature. If the coolant is leaking or there is a blockage, it will affect the heater.
ARE YOU SEEING PUDDLES?
A leak can happen externally or internally. Externally will be obvious as you will start to see puddles of neon green, orange, or pink liquids when you pull away from your parking spot. Remember it has a sweet smell so you want to make sure to clean it up if you see it in your garage. This is extremely toxic and will harm your pets and small children.
GAS BURNING FASTER THAN USUAL?
Do you find yourself filling up your tank, more frequently? This is systematic to a failing cooling system. Proper operating temperature allows fuel to burn more efficiently, providing more engine power and lower fuel consumption. If the cooling system does not drop the temperature properly then the fuel does not evaporate properly, putting a strain on the fuel economy.
There are great YouTube videos like this one and this one that you can check out to learn more about the coolant system in your car. Remember NEVER touch a hot engine. It’s always better to wait. Lastly, I don’t recommend messing with your car unless you know what you are doing.