Minimum temperatures are expected to be in the minus degrees region for the rest of the week and this may have you wrapping yourself up against the cold, but have you considered that your engine may need some extra attention too? “Inspecting and maintaining your vehicle’s cooling system does not take much time, and could save you a hefty bill and the possibility of your car refusing to budge out in the cold” says Derek Hall-Jones, Divisional Manager: Technical Services at the AA.
Your car’s cooling system protects the engine against damage by ensuring that it operates within normal temperature range, and in order to do this you need to be sure that your cooling system has anti-freeze the and levels are not low, does not have rust, dirt and mineral deposits in it.
Other advantages by using anti-freeze is that it is easy to notice if there are leaks in the cooling system, it prevents rust and corrosion and also lubricates the water pump. Not only does anti-freeze lower the freezing point of the coolant, it also raises the boiling point.
A general mixture of one part anti-freeze to two parts of water is recommended. Use a hydrometer to check the ‘ph’ value of the coolant in the vehicle’s cooling system. Be aware that some anti-freeze comes already premixed and adding water to this may throw the ratio out of balance. Also, do not to mix different brands of anti-freeze in your cooling system.
If you are doing it yourself, it is important that you start with a cold engine when checking your coolant levels as opening a hot radiator can be extremely dangerous. It may also be a good time to check for and replace leaking, brittle, spongy or cracked hoses. Also ensure that the radiator hose clamps are tight to prevent leaks at the connections.
Any one of our AA Quality Assured (AAQA) general repairer businesses can assist you if you need help in sorting out the anti-freeze levels in your car. “AA Quality Assured businesses adhere to the strict standards set by the AA, and we are committed to ensuring that consumers have the benefit of dealing with reputable and respected businesses in their area,” says Hall-Jones.