Chances are you’ve seen a vehicle stuck on the side of the road with smoke coming out of it. That’s the result of an overheated engine, which is usually caused by a problem with the coolant. In this article, we’ll discuss what a coolant flush is, and why it’s so important for the health of your vehicle.
How does the cooling system work?
Your engine’s spark plugs ignite the fuel, which is how your vehicle has the power to accelerate. This ignition creates a large amount of heat. If the heat isn’t kept under control, it can destroy the entire engine. That’s where the cooling system comes in. Its job is to control the heat in your engine.
The cooling system circulates a liquid coolant throughout the engine components. The coolant is typically a mixture of antifreeze and water. The entire system also includes the following parts:
- Radiator cooling fans
- Pressure cap and reserve tank
- Water pump
- Temperature sensor
- Freeze plugs
- Bypass system
- Heater core
- Intake manifold gaskets
- Head gaskets
These parts work together to keep the heat in your engine under control.
What is a coolant flush?
A coolant flush involves draining out your old coolant and replacing it. Before this is done, a cleaner is added to the cooling system. This cleaner eliminates rust or debris that’s trapped in your system. Then, the system is flushed out and new coolant is added. A conditioner is also added, which helps protect against corrosion.
A coolant flush helps extend the life of the cooling system. Since the new coolant is clean, it’s more efficient than your old coolant. A coolant flush is different from simply topping off the coolant. Topping off your fluids ensures you have enough circulating throughout your engine. On the other hand, a flush removes harmful contaminants and replaces your fluid with fresh cooling fluid.
Why is it important to get my coolant flushed?
Proper maintenance of the cooling system is essential to your engine’s performance. An overheating engine could affect any of your engine’s components, ultimately causing a total malfunction.
The most important thing you can do to prevent an overheating engine is a routine coolant flush. Here’s why. Antifreeze contains chemicals that work to prevent corrosion. However, these chemicals become less effective over time. Eventually, corrosion will clog the thin tubes in the radiator and heater core. This causes overheating in your engine. Replacing your antifreeze flushes out excess debris, and this keeps your system running as smoothly as possible.
How often does it need to be done?
As with most auto maintenance, it’s best to consult your manual for manufacturer-specific information. Some antifreeze will last for 150,000 miles, or 5 years before needing replacement. Other types of antifreeze need to be replaced every 2 years, or every 30,000 miles. Our licensed technicians can help you figure out exactly how often your vehicle needs a coolant flush.
We recommend an inspection of your cooling system at least once every two years. This should consist of:
- Visual inspection of all cooling system parts
- System power flush and coolant refill
- Thermostat check
- System pressure level check
- A pressure test to identify external leaks
- Internal leak test
- Engine fan test
Take good care of your engine’s cooling system with regularly scheduled maintenance. Doing so will help ensure the overall health of your engine and vehicle. Do you need to schedule a coolant flush? Give Blaine Auto Care & Transmission a call today at (763) 755-7255.
Brake Fluid 101: The Importance of Brake Fluid and Brake Fluid Maintenance
Brake fluid is one of the most essential fluids in your vehicle. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most ignored. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of brake fluid, as well as everything you need to know about changing your brake fluid. Stick around to learn more.
What is brake fluid, and why is it important?
Brake fluid is a non-compressible, hydraulic fluid that runs throughout your braking system. It transfers force from your foot on the brake pedal to the front and rear brake calipers. This force is what brings your vehicle to a stop. Simply put, your brakes won’t work without brake fluid. If there’s no fluid, there isn’t any pressure. That means there would be no force to stop your car.
Since the engine is so hot, brake fluid is designed to withstand extreme temperatures. The brake fluid must have a high boiling point so it doesn’t vaporize. If the brake fluid vaporizes, your brakes will fail. Brake fluid is also designed to maintain a constant viscosity in extreme heat and cold. This ensures that it travels throughout the intricate braking system as it’s supposed to.
Brake fluid contains additives to protect the engine from corrosion. It helps protect the metal that’s inside engine parts like the cylinders, calipers, and ABS control valves. It also lubricates movable engine parts and removes moisture from the system.
These days, most brake fluids are glycol-ether-based. This type of fluid is hygroscopic, meaning that it pulls moisture from the atmosphere. Over time, this moisture can affect your braking system in several ways. Too much water in the brake system lowers the boiling point of the fluid. This can diminish stopping ability when engine heat increases. Additionally, moisture can cause internal corrosion over long periods. This is why it’s so important to get your brake fluid replaced regularly.
How often does brake fluid need to be changed?
Depending on the type of brake fluid you use, the change interval differs. On top of that, different manufacturers provide varying guidelines. Most professionals recommend getting your brake fluid flushed or replaced every one to two years. Additionally, it’s a good idea to get your brake fluid’s moisture content checked periodically. This is especially true if you live in a high-humidity climate.
A visual inspection can also let you know when it’s time for a brake fluid change. Brake fluid is typically clear or light brown. As it ages, it darkens and becomes murky from contamination. It’s a good idea to request a brake fluid test when you get your oil changed. This is a quick and easy way to know for sure whether your brake fluid is in good shape. It’s also smart to check your brake fluid whenever you take a look at the other fluids in your engine. It’s normal to see a small decrease in the reservoir, which can easily be topped off. But, if you’re seeing this often, it could point to a bigger problem with your braking system.
Replacing your brake fluid when needed ensures you and your passengers are safe. Do you need your brake fluid inspected or replaced? Our certified technicians can help. Give Blaine Auto Care & Transmission a call today at (763) 755-7255, or schedule your appointment online.
Transmission Fluid: Why It’s Important and How to Take Care of It
Maintaining your transmission fluid is an important piece of auto maintenance. However, it’s often overlooked. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the role transmission fluid plays. We’ll also discuss steps you can take for proper care and maintenance of your transmission fluid. Doing so can help increase the lifespan of your vehicle.
What is transmission fluid, and why is it important?
The transmission is responsible for shifting your vehicle into different gears, such as drive, reverse, and park. Shifting gears is hard work for your car. Transmission fluid lubricates the metal parts and bearings inside a vehicle’s manual gearbox. It prevents them from grinding down as they move. Transmission fluid also helps regulate the transmission temperature, seeing that it doesn’t get too hot. With an automatic transmission, the fluid also provides friction and hydraulic pressure. This ensures the internal transmission parts operate.
Types of transmission fluid
There are several different transmission fluids, which generally fall into two categories. These are automatic transmission fluid and manual transmission fluid. In addition to these, there are also specialty fluids and synthetic formulas, which we’ll discuss as well.
As the name suggests, automatic transmission fluid is designed for cars with automatic transmissions. Many modern vehicles with manual transmissions also require automatic transmission fluid. It helps facilitate several engine functions, including: Transmission cooling, Gear lubrication, Valve body operation, Clutch operation, Torque converter operation, and Friction for the brake band. Manual transmission fluid is most commonly used in older vehicles with manual transmissions. Since the fluid is heavier, it’s never used in vehicles with automatic transmissions. Most modern cars with manual transmissions require automatic transmission fluid.
Synthetic transmission fluid is created through a series of chemical reactions. Its formula makes it more capable of withstanding high engine temperatures, and it’s less likely to break down. If you’re not sure what’s best for your transmission, it’s a good idea to consult your owner’s manual or a licensed technician.
How to check your transmission fluid
A visual inspection can give you lots of insight into the condition of your vehicle’s transmission. You can do this by examining the level and condition of your transmission fluid. The first step is locating the transmission dipstick. It’s typically found underneath the hood, in the engine compartment. If you can’t find the transmission dipstick, don’t worry. Lots of modern vehicles have transmissions that are completely sealed. That means they never require fluid replacement. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific information on maintenance for your transmission.
If you do see a transmission dipstick, then you need to check the level. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean. Then, replace it slowly and pull it back out. Once you’ve done this, you can check the fluid level against the marks on the dipstick. Low fluid could indicate a leak somewhere in your system. If you notice that you’re using up a lot of transmission fluid, it’s best to contact a professional right away.
Checking the Condition
After checking the level of your transmission fluid, you also need to examine its condition. Lay the dipstick on a white paper towel to get a look at the color of the fluid. Healthy transmission fluid has a pinkish-red color. If it’s getting to the point of needing replacement, it’ll be more of a brownish-red. If the fluid is dark brown or black, it indicates a more serious problem with your transmission’s internal components. This is usually the result of not servicing your vehicle at the recommended intervals.
The transmission is one of the most expensive parts to repair. Keeping your transmission fluid in prime condition can save you some serious money down the road. Do you have questions about your vehicle’s transmission or transmission fluid? Our experts are here to help. Give Blaine Auto Care & Transmission a call today at (763) 755-7255.