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What is a cooling system flush?

An important part of keeping your car running efficiently and smoothly is the cooling system. Its job is to take care of the heat manufactured by a gasoline engine as it turns chemical energy into mechanical power. A car's cooling system typically dissipates enough heat to keep two average size homes warm, just by traveling down the freeway.

Functions of the cooling system

While the main job of the cooling system to keep the engine from overheating, it also has several other important functions. A car's engine runs best at high temperatures, and when it is cold, components wear out. The engine also becomes less efficient and has more emissions, negatively affecting the environment. The cooling system allows the engine to heat up quickly and then maintains a constant temperature.

Two types of cooling systems

Cars usually have either a liquid cooling system or an air one. Most cars are liquid-cooled with a system that circulates a fluid through pipes in the engine. The liquid absorbs heat, cooling the engine. Once the liquid leaves the engine, it goes through a heat exchanger (the radiator), which then shifts the heat from the fluid to the air blowing through the exchanger. While most are liquid-cooled, the ones that are air-cooled feature aluminum fins covering an engine block. These fins conduct heat away from the cylinder.

Time for a coolant flush

This liquid coolant can, over time, gather unneeded and unwanted contaminants and collect debris. This can cause issues with your radiator, including corrosion, rust, and scaling. Flushing the coolant system resolves this issue. A cooling system flush involves moving several gallons of fresh, clean water and antifreeze through the system to rid it of the old antifreeze and any contaminants that have built up. Just draining the radiator will help some, but a full flush is the best way to go as it makes way for new fluid. A flush also helps lengthen the life of your water pump.

Signs your car needs a flush

An overheated car is just one of the signs a cooling system flush is needed. This means there could either be a leak in the system or that it is contaminated. After it overheats, if you still have a full level of coolant, you probably need a cooling system flush. Other signs include a coolant leak, grinding engine noise, dirty coolant, or an odd smell or steam rising from your hood. If you need a cooling system flush, we invite you to bring your vehicle into our auto repair shop today!

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