If you’ve ever seen a vehicle stopped on the side of the road with smoke coming out of the hood, then you’ve seen what happens when the engine overheats. This can be prevented by taking care of the cooling system. Part of this is getting a coolant flush done regularly. In this article, we’ll explain what a coolant flush is, why it’s so important, and how often you need to get this done.
How does the cooling system work?
Your vehicle’s cooling system has a big job. It has to manage the massive amount of heat the engine creates. It does this by transporting coolant, also known as antifreeze, throughout the engine. This process lowers the temperature inside the engine, which prevents damage to the system. Along with the antifreeze, the entire cooling system involves the following components:
- Temperature sensor
- Radiator cooling fans
- Heater core
- Pressure cap and reserve tank
- Water pump
- Head gaskets
- Intake manifold gaskets
- Bypass System
- Freeze Plugs
All of these parts work together to make sure your engine doesn’t overheat.
What is a coolant flush?
Over time, rust develops inside the engine. This rust flakes off and contaminates the coolant. A coolant flush is done to remove polluted coolant from the vehicle and replace it with fresh fluids.
A coolant flush is sometimes confused with topping off the coolant fluids. However, these jobs serve two different purposes. Topping off the fluids doesn’t remove any particles or impurities from the antifreeze. It is done to make sure there’s enough fluid in your system to function. In contrast, a coolant flush removes impurities from your antifreeze. Doing so prevents them from obstructing engine parts.
Why is it important to get my coolant flushed?
There are many reasons why coolant flushes are a necessary part of auto maintenance. First of all, your antifreeze doesn’t last forever. Over time, it becomes less effective because it loses its anti-corrosion properties. Additionally, it grows more acidic as it ages. Too much acidity can damage engine parts if it’s left in the system for too long.
Another reason to get your coolant flushed is that this removes debris from the cooling liquid. This particle waste could potentially block the thin tubes in the engine’s radiator and heater core. If this happens, your engine could overheat.
Water pumps also benefit from coolant flushes. They lubricate the water pump and help keep unwanted debris out of the system. This increases the lifespan of your water pump.
How often does it need to be done?
As with most maintenance, it’s best to consult your owner’s manual. The manufacturer has recommendations depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Our certified technicians at Parents Autocare are also great at helping you put together a maintenance plan that’s best for you.
Since some coolants last longer than others, we advise a complete inspection of the cooling system at least every other year. This assessment should include:
- Visual inspection of all cooling system parts
- System power flush and refill
- Pressure test
- System pressure level check
- Internal leak check
- Thermostat check
- Engine fan test
Do you need to schedule a coolant flush for your vehicle? Give Parents Autocare a call today at (612) 827-3838.
Why Brake Fluid is Important
If you know cars, you understand the role brake fluid plays in keeping your vehicle in good
shape. Unfortunately, it often goes neglected, which leads to bigger problems down the road. In
this article, we’ll discuss what brake fluid does and why it’s so important. We’ll also talk about
some helpful tips for keeping your brake fluid healthy.
What is brake fluid
Brake fluid is an incompressible, hydraulic liquid. It moves throughout the braking system,
creating pressure from the force of the brake pedal. It transports this hydraulic pressure out of the
master cylinder through the brake lines, which carry it to the calipers. With this pressure, the
calipers clamp down onto the rotors, stopping the wheels from spinning. This is what brings your
car to a stop when you press down on the brake pedal. If your car didn’t have brake fluid, it
wouldn’t be able to brake.
How it works
To do its job, the brake fluid needs to be able to withstand all the heat that comes from the
engine. It has some noteworthy qualities that allow it to do so. For one thing, brake fluid can
maintain a consistent viscosity, regardless of how hot or cold the atmosphere around it is. This is
important because brake fluid circulates throughout intricate engine parts. A constant viscosity
ensures that the brake fluid can travel easily throughout the engine. Another feature of brake
fluid that allows it to withstand engine heat is its boiling point. Brake fluid has a very high
boiling point, which prevents it from vaporizing. If the brake fluid boiled away, the entire system
What Makes it Up
Most brake fluid is based on a glycol-ether formula and draws in water from the air around it. As
a result, your brake fluid contains some quantity of water. High water content in the brake fluid
can cause several issues. For one, too much of it will dilute your brake fluid, resulting in
lowering the boiling point. If the boiling point is lowered and some fluid vaporizes, it could
result in decreased stopping power. Another issue caused by high water content is the rapid
corrosion of metallic engine parts. To mitigate these problems, the brake fluid can be tested to
determine its water content. This will provide an accurate reading of whether your brake fluid is
healthy or if it needs to be replaced.
How often does brake fluid need to be changed?
Many factors determine how often you should get your brake fluid replaced. These include the
type of brake fluid used, manufacturer recommendations, as well as the water content in your
brake fluid. Over time, brake fluid also gets polluted by rust particles and other debris from the
engine. In general, we recommend getting your brake fluid serviced every year to every two
An easy way to assess your vehicle’s brake fluid is by doing a visual inspection. As it ages, your
brake fluid darkens and becomes cloudy from engine pollutants. This is an obvious sign that your
brake fluid needs to be flushed and replaced.
Do you need to get your brake fluid tested or replaced? Our experienced professionals at Parents
Autocare are here to help. Give us a call today at (612) 827-3838.
Transmission Fluid 101: Why It’s Important and How to Maintain It
Most people know that getting your oil changed is a regular part of auto maintenance. But did you know that your transmission fluid is just as important? Today, we’re discussing all things transmission fluid. We’ll talk about its important role in your engine and the different types of fluids available. We’ll also discuss what to look for when inspecting the transmission fluid in your vehicle.
What is transmission fluid, and why is it important?
Your car’s transmission enables you to shift into different gears. This is what lets you move to drive, park, reverse, and neutral. Changing gears can cause wear and tear on the transmission over time. The job of the transmission fluid is to minimize this. By lubricating the metal transmission parts, it lets your car shift gears smoothly and efficiently.
Types of transmission fluid
There are many different kinds of transmission fluid. The type your car requires depends on its make and model. Most transmission fluids can be classified as either manual or automatic. Let’s break these down.
Manual transmission fluid is a thicker liquid, which makes it tougher to shift gears. This is especially true in cold weather because temperature affects the fluid’s viscosity. Because of this, manual transmission fluid is used less frequently than its automatic counterpart.
Automatic transmission fluid is designed for automatic transmissions. It’s a hydraulic fluid and has a lower viscosity than manual transmission fluid. Many modern vehicles with manual transmissions also require automatic transmission fluid. It helps with a wide range of engine functions, such as:
- Transmission coolant
- Gear lubrication
- Clutch operation
- Valve body operation
- Torque converter operation
- Brake band friction
Some transmission fluids are traditional and others are synthetic. Synthetic transmission fluid is formulated to withstand extreme heat. This means it won’t evaporate when exposed to the high temperatures of the engine. Traditional transmission fluid is made of crude oil. Because of this, it can oxidize at higher temperatures. Since there are lots of considerations when it comes to transmission fluid, it’s a good idea to consult an expert to figure out what your best option is.
How to check your transmission fluid
Like other vehicle fluids, transmission fluid needs to be replaced at regular intervals. We suggest changing it out every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Additionally, it’s a good idea to visually inspect your transmission fluid periodically. To do so, locate the transmission dipstick, which is usually found in the engine compartment underneath the hood. It’s important to note that some transmissions are sealed and don’t require maintenance. If that’s the case, take a look at your owner’s manual or contact your manufacturer for additional information.
If you can access the transmission dipstick, remove it and wipe it clean. Next, slowly put it back and then remove it once more. Once you’ve done so, you can read where your fluid level is by looking at the markings on the dipstick. Low fluid levels usually indicate an engine leak. If you think this is a problem you’re having, then we suggest bringing your car in to diagnose the issue.
It’s also important to look at the quality of the transmission fluid on the dipstick. If it has a pinkish-red color, then it’s in good condition. If your fluid is more brownish-red, then it probably means you’re due for fluid replacement. Healthy transmission fluid shouldn’t be dark in color. If it’s dark brown or black, it typically points to a problem with your transmission. This is usually the result of neglecting regular maintenance.
By taking care of your transmission fluid, you can avoid expensive repairs on your transmission. Do you have questions about your transmission or transmission fluid? Give Parents Autocare a call today at (612) 827-3838. We look forward to helping you.