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Coolant

By David Sturtz, April 15, 2008

Coolant is the fluid that flows through the engine’s cooling system. Its main purpose is to transfer heat generated by the engine to the radiator so the engine doesn’t overheat.

Symptoms of Bad or Dirty Coolant

  • Temperature gauge may read very high
  • Engine overheating
  • Low coolant warning light may illuminate
  • Dirty or smelly coolant indicates that a system flush may be needed

Coolant Related Repair Advice

  • Over time, coolant gets dirty and breaks down; it should be replaced following the manufacturer's recommendation
  • Make sure to use the coolant the manufacturer recommends; the wrong coolant can damage your vehicle
  • A pressure check of the cooling system should be performed to determine where a coolant leak is originating. After repairs, the system should be pressure tested again to verify that the repair is successful.
  • If you have a problem with the coolant level dropping, but no signs of an external leak, the issue may be an internal engine leak. This type of leak may be due to a leaking intake manifold gasket, head gasket, or oil cooler. A shop will need to conduct various tests to find these types of leaks.
  • After the cooling system has been serviced or repaired, it's important to verify that the system is not leaking, the radiator fans are operating properly, and all air bubbles and air pockets are bled from the cooling system.
  • To help prevent future issues, we recommend replacing the thermostat when the cooling system has been opened for repairs (e.g. water pump or radiator replacement) or during a system flush

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