Avoiding Rusty Engine Coolant

Coolant is crucial to your engine’s operation. Rusty, old, or leaking coolant could be a sign of a serious problem. But how do you know if it’s serious?

The Basics

Before we dive into potential problems, let’s cover the basics. Each manufacturer uses different types of coolant in their vehicles, with different levels of dilution. Most coolant systems use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water. Water is a good natural coolant by itself, but the antifreeze prevents the water from freezing in the winter. Some even require the coolant be mixed with water in a 1 to 1 ratio, stipulating that only distilled water should be used to prevent blockages in the coolant system, engine, and radiator. For these reasons, it’s important to use the manufacturer recommended coolant for your vehicle and avoid mixing different coolants.

Green vs Orange

It’s even more important to make sure you don’t mix different colors of antifreeze. Most vehicles use a bright green antifreeze, but some vehicles (including many General Motors engines) use an orange antifreeze known as Dex-Cool. Mixing the two colors will turn your coolant into a gel-like substance which will prevent your coolant system from functioning, and will most likely lead to engine damage.

Preventing Damage

Whether you use green or orange coolant, it’s important to keep your coolant topped-up at all times to avoid corrosion. You should also have a qualified mechanic flush your coolant system and put fresh antifreeze in regularly. This prevents the rust inhibitors in your coolant from breaking down and prevents any rust from depositing in your radiator, clogging hoses, or making its way to your engine.  

At V&F

If you notice any suspicious fluids, it’s time to take action. Using the latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, our mechanics can take care of all your automotive repair and maintenance services on all makes and models of foreign and domestic automobiles. From oil changes and brake repair to engine services and transmission repair, we’ve got you covered! All of our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange

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