Rock, Paper, Car – Coolant System (Part 2 of 2)
Last Rock, Paper, Car we discovered a pool of ‘green blood’ under the car…Is it an Alien’s? It is anti-freeze – also known as coolant.
What does Coolant do? Its primary function is to cool engine parts around the cylinder walls and cylinder head. Next to where your car’s fuel is burned, where combustion takes place. The engine needs coolant circulating through it continually; without it, the combustion chambers reach temperatures over 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (RED HOT).
Its secondary responsibilities are to heat the inside of your car (via the heater) and to keep corrosion from forming in the radiator, engine, and heater core.
How does the coolant circulate? Coolant is kept moving along by a water pump. A well-functioning water pump is essential because, as you know, idle coolant is the devil’s playground! (HOT, HOT, HOT!)
As coolant (designed to not boil until it reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit) circulates through the engine, it carries heat away from the cylinder walls / combustion chambers to the radiator. The anti-freeze cools down as it flows through the radiator. It then repeats its cycle of flow - back to the cylinder walls, picking up the heat to expel once again to the radiator.
The thermostat is what regulates the coolant temperature by controlling how fast and where the coolant goes, maintaining the cooling system's proper temperatures at a cool 190-200 degrees.
Water Star Motors recommends that you repair all leaks immediately, take care of your water pump, and REPLACE COOLANT every 2-3 years. (As exotic as it is, and although some coolant is advertised as lasting for up to ten years, coolant has a relatively short life span; experience tells me that 5 years is max, and 2-3 years is best.) A good, professional "Coolant System Flush" – replacing the entire contents of the cooling system – is a great investment for your car’s health.