The coolant in your vehicle serves a vital purpose in preventing your engine from overheating. In order to serve this purpose on a year-round basis, it must be formulated to withstand both the heat from the engine and the hot summer weather as well as the freezing temperatures of winter.
If your coolant becomes corrupted over time, you may face a breakdown from overheating as well as other issues that may compromise your cooling system's efficiency.
While you can flush and fill the radiator yourself, there are efficacy and safety issues that must be considered.
Why does your coolant need to be flushed and replaced?
Your radiator is filled with a mixture of coolant and water. Surprisingly, the water itself can be an issue if it is left in the system over time. Minerals in the water can cause scale deposits that can eventually cause lines to be blocked.
The coolant mixture can also become contaminated with dirt, traces of metal, as well as oil and fuel. It can also produce acids that can corrode the metal parts in the cooling system as it breaks down from continual use.
Pressurized flushing rather than merely draining the system will clear out not only the corrupted coolant but also the contaminants and buildup inside the cooling system.
Flushing will also make small leaks in the cooling system more detectable.
Why can't you do it yourself?
While it is simple to drain your radiator and refill it, you must be able to successfully contain the used coolant and take it to a business that will accept used coolant or offers coolant recycling services.
Flushing your radiator with a garden hose will not equal the efficacy of having a professional flush and fill, and will likely lead to coolant spilled or sprayed onto the ground. This causes safety concerns because most coolants are made from ethylene glycol.
The dangers of ethylene glycol-based coolant
Ethylene glycol is poisonous to pets and small children, who are both attracted to coolant because of its sweet taste and bright green color. While it eventually has an unpleasant aftertaste, pets and children may consume a toxic amount before the aftertaste dissuades them from consuming more.
Automotive repair facilities are a better choice for having a flush and fill service performed, because they are equipped for proper containment of used coolant and have absorbent materials that are designed to clean up any spills.
When deciding on a auto service facility, ask if they will replace your old coolant with a propylene glycol-based coolant. It is a little more expensive, but doesn't have the toxicity level (and sweet taste) of ethylene glycol.