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How to change your antifreeze

Whether you do it yourself or turn the job over to your mechanic, you should know what's involved in changing your car's antifreeze. First off, what you really need to do is to "flush your cooling system" - changing the antifreeze is one part of this process.

Flush and fill your cooling system.

Performing a routine flush and fill is quick and easy, and it's cheap insurance against engine failure. The National Car Care Council recommends doing this every two years or 24,000 miles for most vehicles. Don't assume that simply draining your radiator is enough. To do the job right, you need to flush the system with a radiator flush product, not just plain water, to remove stubborn rust, grease, and sediment.

Don't judge your coolant by it's color

Many motorists make the mistake of judging the condition of their antifreeze by its color. Contaminants like rust, sediment, or oil may cause the antifreeze to change colors, but it's the chemical breakdown over time that renders your antifreeze ineffective against freeze-ups, boil overs and corrosion. And old, weak antifreeze won't provide sufficient engine protection, regardless of the color. So play it safe, and change your antifreeze every two years or 24,000 miles.

photo by Nyboer Creative


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