Your coolant system is an important part of your vehicle, and it is also the second most common cause of engine failure. Even though coolant system failure is fairly common, it is easy to prevent.

The radiator is connected to the engine with hoses and filled with coolant. The coolant draws heat off the engine and passes it into the radiator. Air passes through cooling fins to reduce the temperature of the coolant and then it is sent back to the engine.

There are several ways for the cooling system to fail. Most commonly, the problem comes from the coolant itself. Coolant is a mixture of water and antifreeze. The proper mixture keeps the coolant from either boiling away or freezing—both of which can result in massive engine damage.

The age of coolant also contributes to a failing cooling system. Antifreeze has additives that protect the coolant system from corrosion. As these additives are depleted over time, they can't protect the radiator and other parts from rust, scaling, and corrosion. Old coolant may still keep your engine cool, but it won't protect it from corrosion.

If your warning light comes in indicating that you need more coolant, or if the temperature gauge moves into the hot zone, your cooling system needs to be checked. You can add water or antifreeze yourself, but you need to be cautious. If you plan to do it yourself, keep these four things in mind.

First, opening the radiator cap can result in serious burns—so never try to open the radiator cap. Second, try to get to your Kalispell service center at Loren's Auto Repair immediately if your coolant is low. If you can’t make it to your service center, follow the directions in your owner’s manual, which will direct you to only add coolant to the coolant overflow bottle.  Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze.

If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with your Loren's Auto Repair service center so that we can make necessary corrections. And lastly, remember that different cars use different types of antifreeze. You need to check your owner’s manual to make sure you use the right kind. Mixing two different types of antifreeze or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturers warranty on your cooling system.

Remember, your Kalispell service center has the equipment to change your coolant quickly and correctly. It’s not an expensive service, and keeping up with your preventative maintenance schedule will help to extend the life of your coolant system, and your vehicle.

For more information on this or any other service, feel free to visit us in person at 1309 US Hwy 2 West in Kalispell or call 406-755-7757.