Auto Systems and Repair: Cooling System Coolant Change
Why Should It Be Serviced?
Not changing the coolant in the cooling system may affect engine performance, so it's important to have it serviced. If you don't, you may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Engine overheating
- Coolant loss
- Sweet odor inside vehicle
- No heat from heater
When Should It Be Serviced?
- On older vehicles it is often recommended to flush the engines cooling system every two years or 30,000 miles, many newer vehicles have extended life coolant which can last up to 100,000 miles. Degraded coolant should be replaced to protect the cooling system from corrosion which can result in leaks, and debris accumulation which can result in restricted coolant flow; both of which can lead to engine overheating. Manufacturers will specify a particular type of coolant and a recommended service interval; consult your owners manual for more information.
How It's Done
To drain the system, drain plugs in the radiator and engine block (as equipped) are removed to allow coolant to exit. After the engine and radiator are drained, the plugs are reinstalled, fresh coolant is put into the radiator and coolant expansion tank, and air is removed from the cooling system. This is commonly referred to as a "Drain & Refill". Special equipment may be used in the drain and fill process, this may or may not result in a more complete service and is often referred to as a "Coolant Flush".