Change Your Antifreeze

     Maybe it's no surprise that busy Americans are neglecting the annual antifreeze/coolant change, but between 1983 and 1997, the number of vehicles getting an antifreeze flush and fill every year to every four years dropped 19 percent. The result is that cooling system failure is the #1 cause of engine-related breakdowns.

     When you change your clocks, change your antifreeze

    Here's a great way to remember to check and change your coolant.
    Most people change antifreeze in the fall. A good way to remember is to check and change your antifreeze when you change your clocks back from Daylight Savings Time. This year, that's Saturday, October 25. All drivers get into this important maintenance habit."

For several reasons why this is a valuable safety measure, read on.

Why Change Antifreeze/Coolant?

     Antifreeze/coolant experts have a warning for those neglecting their cooling systems. "Most people have some idea that antifreeze/coolant helps prevent the radiator and cooling system from freezing up or boiling over. Few people understand that coolant also contains special chemical additives to prevent serious damage from rust and corrosion. However, over time, the additives wear out. This depleted coolant becomes acidic and can actually corrode the metals in the cooling system. And here's where your trouble often starts."

     Change your coolant to avoid trouble like:

  • Overheating - Old, depleted coolant can't do its job of helping your engine shed heat -- and heat is enemy #1. That's why you have a cooling system in the first place.
  • Corrosion - More cooling system parts are now made with aluminum. In fact, the tubes in your radiator are only the thickness of a soda can top. Since aluminum is very vulnerable to corrosion, old, depleted coolant can allow pin holes to form in the tubes and lead to leakage an overheating.
  • Clogging - When aluminum corrodes, the by-products of corrosion deposit in the radiator. The deposits clog the radiator and actually act like insulators so the system can't cool as well. As the cooling system gets hotter, even more deposits form. Finally, the whole engine overheats.
  • Leaks - As heat builds in a neglected cooling system, the coolant starts to boil more vigorously and can actually blast holes in your water pump or promote seal failure. The result is loss of coolant and ultimately vehicle breakdown.

Neglect is Expensive. Maintenance is easy.

     Repairs for water pumps, radiators and other cooling system parts can be costly. The inconvenience of a breakdown is even worse. The change is easy....It's easy to remember: When you turn your clocks back, it's time to change your antifreeze.

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