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Cooling System Service




Automotive Cooling System Service – “Avoiding Costly Overheating”

From our experience, the number one cause of major engine failure is cooling system problems due to neglect of the cooling system. We see some very expensive engine repairs due to this neglect. Obviously, this is a very important topic. Remember, our goal is to help you prevent major breakdowns and to save you money. We do this by encouraging affordable maintenance when your car needs it.

How Your Car’s Cooling System Works

The cooling system consists of a radiator, a water pump, a thermostat and hoses. A mixture of water and coolant/anti-freeze flows through the engine, water pump, thermostat and radiator. The goal is to dissipate and remove the heat off the engine. The fluids constantly flow through the system through the radiator. The radiator uses air from the car’s motion and radiator fan to aid in the cooling of the fluids. This system sends lower temperature fluid back into the engine constantly. This keeps your engine from overheating.

Water And Coolant


Water is a great coolant for the engine. It even does a better job than the coolant/anti-freeze itself. In fact if you wanted to cool an engine, water alone is the best method. However, there is one problem with only water: it corrodes the internal parts of the engine. Corrosion damages many important components in the cooling system that can restrict cooling. So, we add coolant to the water to help protect the cooling system from corrosion. The coolant is also an anti-freeze formula that helps to prevent the water from freezing in your engine.

To strike the right balance of water and coolant we mix 50% water and coolant. The coolant is a blend of chemicals that inhibits rust, while the water is for cooling. In the old days, we only had one type of coolant. Each technician or auto repair shop had their favorite brand, but there was really only one type. Today, there are many different types of coolants. This is because some car manufacturers require a specific type.

Cooling systems are becoming more complex with later model cars. We are becoming chemists to a degree. We have to ensure that right pH, percentage of coolant additives to water ratios, and measure the presence of stray voltage (electrolysis) in the fluids. Certainly, older vehicles were simpler and easier to troubleshoot and maintain. Today, though, we must be aware of a wide variety of technologies related to the cooling system.



We recommend and perform a visual inspection of the cooling system at each oil change service. This visual inspection consists of looking at the fluid levels and looking at the consistency of the fluid, then topping the fluid levels if needed. We also perform a dip strip test to check pH & (%) of Glycol. That is all that is needed between cooling system services.

Cooling System Inspection Intervals

Periodically, it is important to do more than just a fluid top off. A more thorough inspection is needed. We do this periodically depending on how long and how many miles you driven since your last cooling system service. We also factor in what your car manufacturer recommends, and the current condition of the cooling system.

Because of variables in driving conditions, the type of coolant, and your car manufacturer’s recommendations, the cooling system will need to be serviced anywhere from every two years or 30,000 miles. At our shop, we take the care to monitor this for you as you have other services performed (oil changes, etc.). We will notify you when you are due for this service. That is why it is important to have your periodic maintenance done with our shop so we can monitor all of your maintenance issues.

Our Cooling System Service


While some shops and quick oil change companies only drain and fill the cooling system fluids, we do the job right. The reason is that up to 60% of the contaminated fluid remains with just a drain and fill.

The cooling system service at The Muffler Shop involves a few more steps. We start by adding a chemical that breaks up the contaminants in the system while running the car until it heats up. We run the car until it heats up and the thermostat opens up so fluid is running through the entire system. The job of the additive is to rid the fluid of the contaminants and aid in the next step, the flush. If the history of the vehicle is not known and the mileage is high the thermostat will be recommended and replaced.

We will add a specified amount of new coolant into our Snap On Coolant Exchange machine and hook it up to the car. The amount we add is determined by the manufacturer’s recommendations. The exchange machine forces the old fluid out completely and adds new coolant with a conditioner added. The job of the conditioner is to fortify the coolant and reduce the electrolysis.

Electrolysis is the main enemy of the coolant system; it is basically stray voltage in the system. It damages the internal parts of the cooling system and engine if it remains unattended.