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Coolant or Antifreeze?

Though it is a common misconception, coolant and antifreeze are actually the same thing!

This fluid, which is mixed with water in your engine sometimes called “radiator fluid,” circulates through your vehicle’s engine and cooling system to keep it running at the optimum temperature.

As your engine operates, it creates a lot of heat. The combustion of fuel combined with friction from its many moving parts means the engine runs very hot, even when it’s cold outside.

The primary job of the coolant and cooling system is to prevent your engine from overheating. An overheated engine is a common cause of engine breakdowns on the road. But this is preventable! With proper maintenance, like cooling system inspections and coolant flushes, your cooling system is designed to keep up with the high demands of your vehicle’s hot engine.

Coolant is also known as antifreeze. Just like you don’t want your engine to become too hot, you also don’t want it to become too cold. Like Goldilocks, your engine needs the temperature to be just right.

The antifreeze in your vehicle’s engine prevent the key fluids and parts from freezing in extreme temperatures. This fluid combines with the water in the system to lower the freezing point and raise the boiling point. Even on mornings below freezing, you’ll still be able to start your vehicle.

But you can’t just dump the coolant or antifreeze into the system and hope for the best, and you can’t put it in once and ignore it. The fluid must be mixed at a specific ratio to be most effective. If the level is incorrect, the fluid can lead to rust and contaminants that will do more harm than good.

If your fluid level is too low, the vehicle’s system likely has a leak. Coolant isn’t used up in the engine, but circulates continuously. Fluid can get out and contaminants can get in. Have it inspected right away to avoid bigger problems that leave you stuck in the cold.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for any season by keeping your coolant in prime condition! Whether you call it “coolant,” “antifreeze,” or “radiator fluid,” this fluid is vital to your engine’s operation and the health of your vehicle.

Call our team of certified technicians to schedule your next appointment: (615) 327-9600

Summer Vehicle Maintenance, part 3

Before you load up for that long awaited cross country trip to the mountains or the seashore, take a few minutes to make sure the activities you are planning are the only ones you will be experiencing.

We are talking about your trusty traveling companion–your car. Today’s automobiles are incredibly reliable but also incredibly complex. Kicking the tires is no longer nearly enough to make sure all is OK. While most car owners can take care of the basics, if you are planning a really extended trip, it might be wise to visit a professional.

Here’s what you can do yourself:

Check tire condition

Look straight on to he front of the tire and see if both sides seem even. Uneven wear indicates more serious problems, but that is often just an adjustment. Tire pressures are on the door jam of your car and a good tire gauge can be had for under $5.

Check the orphan tire

Do not forget the orphan-the one that lives alone in the trunk-yes your spare. Seldom used, you want to make sure it is in goo condition before taking a trip. Also make sure you know how to use your jack to change a tire. This task is better is there are two people and while it is unlikely you will be out of range to call a towing service, this is a good thing to knowhow to do

Check Fluid Levels

CAUTION. Before you open that hood, make sure the engine is cooled down as even checking the oil can burn you. Your owner’s manual will tell you the location of the oil stick, which is usually marked with a yellow handle.

The same goes for the transmission. Read your manual as some manufacturers advise checking this fluid level while the engine is running. Unless you are experienced, let your local service dealer check this as it is dangerous to be under a car hood with the engine running.

Inspect belts and hoses

Generally, if your car is five years old or less with under 50,000 miles, these components are in good condition. Look at where they attach to see any signs of leaks or green antifreeze stains.

Lights

Often overlooked this is a big safety issue. If you step on the brake or signal and the light is out you could be asking for an accident. Just have someone operate all the lights as you walk around your car.

Summer and Import Auto Mainentance

Your local car dealer will often perform a simple check at little or no charge. Gas stations will do this also for regular customers-but keep in mind that this is just a simple check. More comprehensive check ups can be at the shop rate of $125/hour but well worth it if you have your entire family in the car and are miles from home.

If you are on the road, you are less likely to find a local dealer for your luxury import than a domestic model, so consider scheduling a summer-izing maintenance appointment before you set off for any summer trips.