Expert Advice

Do I need to check my vehicle’s coolant?

To keep your cooling system functioning properly, check the coolant level and the coolant condition very few months.

The radiator in your vehicle recirculates the coolant, which is also called antifreeze. The radiator keeps your engine cool. Without proper maintenance you may need a radiator auto repair.

How to Check Your Vehicle’s Coolant

Overtime the coolant in your vehicle breaks down. It will eventually lose its ability to protect your engine and radiator. Old or dirty coolant can cause the radiator to lose efficiency. This leads to overheating and potential damage.

To check your car’s coolant you want to first make sure that the radiator and cooling system is cool to the touch. If not, the system may be pressurized. This could cause injury to yourself and others, as coolant may spray out. Make sure your vehicle has not been running for a couple hours.

Once you’ve established the top of the radiator and radiator hoses are cool, press down on the radiator cap with the palm of your hand. Then turn the cap 1/4 to 1/2 rotation. Be sure to set the cap to the side, in a location where it will not fall into the engine.

Take a flashlight to inspect the coolant in the radiator. The coolant should be somewhat transparent, and it may be green or blue. If you see particles floating in the coolant or it appears to be a milky color, those are indicators that you need to change your coolant.

If the coolant appears to be the correct color and there is no contaminate floating around, you should then check for breakdown of the coolant. This can be done by testing the acidity or alkalinity of the coolant. Litmus tests can evaluate the chemical makeup. If the coolant is too acidic it can wreak havoc on your cooling system, making it susceptible to corrosion and early failure.

Radiator Auto Repair Wilmington, NC

If any of these tests show that you need new coolant, it is imperative that you completely flush out the old coolant and replace with new coolant. If proper coolant maintenance is not performed, you put your vehicle’s radiator at risk for an untimely repair. The affordable mechanics at O’Leary’s Automotive Repair offer radiator auto repair in Wilmington and surrounding areas. If you have questions about checking your coolant, the radiator, or other auto repair needs, please stop by any one of our four convenient auto repair locations near you!