by Pat Goss
Even the basic things on automobiles have become complex. Take coolant for instance. Various cars have different types of coolant, and you have to use the appropriate type of coolant for your individual car. Now here we have an assortment of universal coolants. They fit several different models, and they’ll probably work fine for most cars, but if you’re a stickler for precision, go to the dealer and buy the vehicle specific coolant for your individual car, then you know you’ve got absolutely the best performing coolant. But otherwise, well you can buy it full strength, you can buy a 50-50 mix with water, you can buy Asian, you can buy all of these different types of coolants and they will do the job.
Alright, now another thing. Used to be you could take a garden hose and easily flush the cooling system on the car. Well, you can still do that up to a point, but what you really need to do is you need to buy a flush chemical. Now a flush chemical, the one that you’re looking for, is going to lower the ph of the liquid in the cooling system that’s gonna make it acidic and because it’s acidic it’s going to soften hard deposits in the radiator and the engine. Then you’re going to flush it out. Oh, and remember, flushing may not be all that easy because today most radiators don’t have a drain valve on the bottom of them you have to remove the lower radiator hose very messy. And if you have to dilute your coolant you have to use distilled water, never use tap water.
Alright, now, you want to check the coolant be careful because there are two types of freeze testers. Black bulb that’s for ethylene glycol. The green bulb that’s for the modern hybrid anti-freezes and doesn’t give you an accurate reading on glycol and vice versa. So you have to know the type of coolant you have in your car and get the appropriate tester. Another thing you can do is test strips they give you a lot of information about the condition of the coolant and whether or not you really need to do something.
Now, clamps, this is something you’re going to deal with when you replace hoses or service anything on the car. Seems like a lot of you like to take the good clamp which applies pressure evenly all the way around, throw it away, and replace it with a bad clamp that has a pressure point right under the screw. Put that on a modern plastic radiator and through expansion and contraction over time there’s a good chance it’ll crack the neck of the radiator and you have to replace your radiator. So these are some of the things that you need to be aware of with coolant. And if you have a question, or a comment, drop me a line. Right here, at MotorWeek.