When to Change Your Vehicle's Antifreeze and Coolant
How Often Should I Change my Antifreeze?Much like motor oil does, antifreeze/coolant (commonly known simply as 'coolant') keeps your engine running smoothly. Coolant prevents the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing and keeps your engine from overheating. It also contains corrosion inhibitors that help protect the metals in the system from the damaging effects of water.
And, like everything else in your auto, coolant eventually wears out and needs to be changed. Over time, corrosion inhibitors become depleted, the coolant can break down, and contaminants can build up in the fluid. When this occurs, cooling system components don’t have the protection they need and the coolant should be changed as soon as possible.
But for general maintenance, how often should you check your coolant? Or do a complete system flush?
Check Your Vehicle’s Antifreeze/Coolant Twice a YearChecking your engine coolant twice a year will help ensure your car’s cooling system functions at its best. Start by looking at the level in your coolant overflow reservoir. When the engine is cold, it should be at or above the minimum fill line on the reservoir. If your fluid is below that line, pick up a gallon of PEAK 50/50 Antifreeze/Coolant and top off your reservoir.
If you don’t recall the last time your car’s coolant was changed, or if it’s been more than 5 years, it is probably time to perform a thorough cooling system flush and fill. Your nearest Pep Boys can do that for you; or, If you happen to be a Do-It-Yourselfer, you can follow this step-by-step process for flushing and filling your cooling system.
How To Change Your Radiator FluidCAUTION: DO NOT REMOVE RADIATOR CAP WHEN ENGINE IS HOT.
- Drain cooling system by opening radiator drain valve.
- Close radiator drain valve. Fill with fresh water and replace radiator cap. Flush cooling system for 15 minutes with engine running and heater on high.
- Stop engine and allow to cool. Drain system. Close drain valve. Note: To completely flush out old coolant, repeat steps 1 - 3 two to three times until the liquid drained from the radiator runs clear.
- Check owner’s manual for cooling system capacity and refill with PEAK Long Life Antifreeze and Coolant.
- Dispose of the old antifreeze/coolant according to state and local regulations.
PEAK RecommendationTo be safe, always consult your owner’s manual to double check the manufacturer’s antifreeze/coolant flush and fill recommendations for your particular make and model. Most car manufacturers will recommend that you change the antifreeze/coolant in your vehicle every 24,000 to 36,000 miles, or every 24 to 36 months.
Also, be sure to keep in mind that your personal driving habits will determine the frequency of needing to change your antifreeze/coolant. If you often drive in extremely hot temperatures, you may want to consider changing the fluid once a year.
Fortunately, newer cars typically can go much longer than 36 months without a flush and fill. And when you do a flush and fill with PEAK Long Life Antifreeze/coolant, your cooling system will be guaranteed for up to 5 years or 150,000 miles.