The cooling system’s primary component is antifreeze/coolant, which helps keep the engine from freezing in the winter (don’t laugh, we do travel to other climates you know), and keeps it cool in the summer. As with brake fluid, your coolant can be tested to determine when it needs to be replaced.

In this case, we measure the pH level, which is an indicator of the acidic protection that the fluid is capable of providing, and the freeze point. For instance, a pH level of 7.0 is neutral, indicating that the coolant is no longer protecting the soft metals inside your engine. It’s like having straight water in your cooling system, which is detrimental because it deteriorates the metal inside the system. This shortens the life of your heater core, radiator, intake manifolds and cylinder heads.

Besides those being expensive components to replace, a coolant leak from any of those areas can lead to extremely expensive repairs to the cylinder head gaskets or even an engine if it overheats too badly.

The cooling system should be checked regularly, usually during routine oil changes. Many cooling system repairs will cost $500 to $1,200. In contrast, having the cooling system flushed costs less than $150 for most vehicles. You save long-term dollars by maintaining your vehicle on a regular basis.

As always, the very best advice we can offer is to check your owner’s manual or check with our experts to find out when the manufacturer recommends the cooling system to be flushed. There are a few models that experience has shown that the manufacturer’s recommendation does not work out well in our area. If the recommendation seems to be a rather high mileage interval (over 75,000 miles), simply check with us for our recommendation.

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