Coolant In Your Car

We recently had a Peugeot come in after being towed from the freeway, having overheated. Luckily the problem turned out to be a ceased thermostat but just the part alone cost nearly $150. Had the overheating become severe it could have been much more serious, worst case scenario being that the car could have ended up needing a new engine.

When we were emptying the cooling system it was very clear that there was no coolant in the system at all. There was plenty of water but it was the colour of rust. This indicates deterioration in the cooling system and this was the reason that the thermostat failed.


What Does Coolant Do And Why Is It Important?

Coolant used to be more commonly referred to as anti freeze, anti boil, and this is one of its roles. Contrary to what a lot of people think, coolant is not good at cooling! Water has this role, but the issue with using water alone is that water struggles to dissipate the heat that it gathers. Once hot, water can turn to steam and then is not be able to do its job of cooling the engine.

Coolant is designed to dissipate the heat in the water and allow it to continue to cool the engine. This is why it is vital to have the correct coolant in your engine and in the correct amount.


What Coolant Should You Use?

All coolants are not created equal. For this reason there are several different colours that are used to identify them, and some are even pre mixed with water.

Your car manufacturer has specific coolant that they want in the engine and they stipulate the water to coolant ratio. We always check the manufacturer’s requirements before working on the cooling system of any car to ensure these requirements are met.

If you find yourself regularly “topping up” your coolant it would indicate a leak somewhere in the system. By topping it up you will also be changing the coolant to water ratio, so please have it checked before you end up being towed in from the freeway as well!


Our Recommendations

It is recommended that the cooling system in your car be flushed once per year so as to ensure correct ratios. This should also ensure that the coolant is fresh enough to still dissipate the heat from the water effectively. The glycol in the coolant will not last forever and as it deteriorates so does the performance of your cooling system.

The other role of coolant is as a corrosion inhibitor. In the case of our Peugeot, had it had coolant in the system it would have helped to avoid the rust, and could possibly have avoided the thermostat from failing in the first place.

If you have any concerns at all regarding any thing to do with your cooling system please do not hesitate to give us a call on 4353 2848.