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 against damage by ensuring that your engine operates within normal temperature range, and in order to do this you need to be sure that your cooling system levels are not low or full of rust, dirt and mineral deposits.
As your engine reaches a certain temperature the fluid in your radiator begins to boil and the evaporated fluid begins to condense into water vapour which starts to stick to the interior of the engine. Over time, the condensation of this vapour may cause rust which will then flake off and interfere with engine performance. In winter, this condensation can freeze, expand and perhaps create even more damage.
Added in proper amounts, antifreeze is designed to keep your engine from overheating as well as from freezing as the mixture does not boil as easily as water. Usually you add a mixture of half antifreeze and half water. Use a hydrometer to check the ‘ph’ value of the coolant in the vehicle’s cooling system, but be acutely aware that some antifreeze comes already premixed and adding water to this may throw the ratio out of balance and cause engine damage.
Any one of our AA Quality Assured (AAQA) general repairer business can assist you if you need help sorting out the antifreeze 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.
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.
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