If you have a passing familiarity with your car, you know there are many fluids it needs to run correctly. Gas is one, of course, and oil. But also, your vehicle needs coolant to run correctly. If all you know about coolant is that you need to add more when your mechanic says it is low, you may be interested to learn why coolant is so essential to your car.
What Is Coolant, and What Does It Do?
You may have heard coolant referred to more commonly as antifreeze. It consists of a mixture of alcohol and distilled water that gives it the property of being able to absorb and dissipate heat. This is very important because your car’s engine, like any powerful, fast-moving machine, generates a lot of it. Your car’s engine runs at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, in fact.
That kind of heat, when applied to the various rubber and metal components surrounding your engine, can do serious damage, which is why you need something to constantly cool that engine down. That something is your coolant. It is called antifreeze because while it is very good at getting cool, it does not freeze at sub-zero temperatures the way water does. If it did, it would freeze up and crack your car engine block or other components during a cold winter.
Your coolant works with a radiator attached to your engine. The radiator has a reservoir of coolant that flows into the engine block and circulates around the engine, absorbing the heat the engine gives off. It then circles back into the radiator where it is air-cooled so it can go back into the engine and repeat the process.
What Will Happen to My Car Without Coolant?
As you might imagine, a car without coolant is not likely to get you very far. Without something to dissipate the great heat of the engine, your car could overheat and fail. Other vital components under the hood will melt or blow, and you will have a costly repair on your hands.
Which components could be adversely affected by an overheated engine that isn’t cooled down? Just about everything else under the hood, including the head gasket, water pump, cylinder head and cylinder or piston timing. Not only will your car not function correctly without any of these things, but these items can cost hundreds of dollars to replace, so you are strongly advised to protect your coolant and make sure your coolant reservoir stays full.
What Are Signs That My Coolant Is Low?
There are several signs that your coolant is low, and you need to stop driving and refill it as soon as possible. If your dashboard is functioning properly, it should provide an early warning that you have a coolant issue. Pay attention to it. If you do not see a specific warning light indicating low coolant, a temperature gauge in or approaching the red is usually another strong clue.
If the dashboard is not cooperating, other signs to watch for are the internal heat of the car rising uncontrollably, a burning smell or the sweet smell of leaking antifreeze, a hood that is too hot to touch and, of course, the telltale sign of smoke or steam rising from the hood.
Why Is My Coolant Low?
If your coolant is too low, the most likely culprit is a leak somewhere in the system. Radiator hoses springing leaks are not uncommon, which is why you should change these when indicated as part of your car maintenance plan. If you have too much rust in your radiator, this can lead to holes which can also cause your coolant to leak.
One way to help protect yourself from coolant issues is to do a coolant flush every 30,000 miles or every few years. A coolant flush clears everything out of your radiator, including mineral deposits or rust that could interfere with your radiator’s ability to function or could damage the radiator itself, and allows you to replace it with fresh, clean coolant.
The cost of a coolant flush is only a fraction of what it would cost to replace internal components if your engine overheats, especially if you do the coolant flush yourself rather than taking it to a mechanic.
How Do Modern Engines Prevent Overheating?
In an older car, if you had a coolant leak or your coolant was not functioning for some other reason, there is a good chance that you would not find out about it until smoke started rising from your hood, and it was too late. There would be signs, to be sure, but if you were distracted and not paying attention to the dashboard, sound or smell, your car could end up in real trouble.
Fortunately, most of today’s cars have an automatic cut-off feature. This feature automatically shuts the engine down if the engine gets too hot. You’ll have to stop driving immediately, of course, and won’t be able to go again until the car reaches a safer temperature, but this is a lot better than having your car’s insides melted.
Some modern luxury cars have what you may think is an even better response to the problem of coolant loss. These cars have an engine control unit which can flip your car into safe mode when it is in danger of overheating. In safe mode, the car changes the way the cylinders fire to get some of the cylinders to cool down while the others fire. This is a temporary solution, but it should allow you to keep control of the car long enough to get to a garage or somewhere where you can refill the coolant.
If your car is running too hot, your coolant may need a little help. However, standard coolants cannot always easily stand up to the heat generated by high-performance automobiles. If you are concerned about overheating, we recommend you add Hy-per Lube Super Coolant to your coolant tank. This product is compatible with virtually every type of antifreeze, lowers engine temperatures up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit and improves engine warm-up operating even in the coldest environments.
For more information about how coolant additive can protect your car, visit Hy-per Lube today.
Posted on: Sep 15 2019
Your radiator is one of those parts of your car that you don’t think about much until there is a problem with it. But when it wants to, it usually has no problem getting your attention. The radiator, thermostat and water pump make up your car’s cooling system, and if there’s a problem with it, the extremely high temperatures of your running engine will cause the car to overheat and likely fail. Your engine runs hot — around 200 degrees Fahrenheit — and without something cooling it down, that heat can wreak havoc on the other components under the hood.
The radiator prevents overheating by cooling the fluid that flows around the engine block to dissipates the engine’s heat. When you see smoke coming from the radiator, it is an indicator that the radiator has not been able to do this job and the car is overheating as a result.
For this reason, it’s important to know what some of the more common radiator problems are, how to avoid them and how to fix them to keep your car as healthy as possible.
Posted on: Sep 1 2019
The opportunity to drive for the first time is one of the most exciting milestones of a teenager’s life. Being able to drive represents freedom, independence and the first step to adulthood, so that first car is a big deal. Your teen, of course, would love to have the most expensive, cool-looking, sporty new car on the market, but you have to be the voice of reason. Right?
Sinking a ton of money into a brand-new car for your child is not recommended for many reasons. One, teenage drivers get into accidents at the highest rate, meaning not only can you expect to pay insanely high insurance premiums on a new car for a teen, but there’s a better-than-average chance that the car won’t survive (while in pristine condition) long enough to justify the expense. Two, the cost of your teen’s car is probably coming out of the family budget, which is often already strained by things like the cost of the car or cars you already have.
Finally, there are plenty of dependable, very reliable used cars on the market to choose from that can be a great value. But how do you know which ones they are? What are the best cars for teens when looking for used cars?
Posted on: Jul 1 2019
If you take your car to the mechanic for scheduled maintenance/tune-ups, you have probably been told that you need a radiator flush. But is flushing the radiator really necessary, or is the service largely unnecessary? What does radiator fluid do, exactly, and when do you need your radiator flushed?
What Does Radiator Fluid Do?
Radiator fluid, better known as coolant or antifreeze, keeps your radiator cool, as you might expect. Car engines run hot, especially in warm weather, and without something to dissipate the excessive heat generated by the engine, your car can overheat and fail very quickly.
What Does a Radiator Flush Do?
While radiator coolant is very important, like most fluids running through a system, it can build up unwanted contaminants and collect debris over time. Over time, your radiator coolant can cause radiator corrosion, generating rust, scaling or other debris that you do not want in your car’s radiator or engine. A coolant flush resolves this problem – it’s basically a blood transfusion for your cooling system. A flush involves forcing several gallons of cleaner, water and new antifreeze through the system to get rid of all the old antifreeze and the contaminants that may have built up in it.
Simply draining the radiator may get rid of most of the old antifreeze but could leave some coolant and contaminants behind, which would then mix with and pollute your new antifreeze and cause overheating. You want a full flush, a forced removal of anything old so you can pave the way for new fluid.
Besides removing the used antifreeze from your radiator, other benefits to flushing your radiator can include removing the rust and scaling that has built up on the radiator as a result of the old coolant, as well as lubricating and lengthening the life of your water pump. Additionally, if you use the right additives during your coolant flush, it can help prevent future leaks, foaming, corrosion and debris build-up.
If you do go to a mechanic for your radiator flush rather than doing it yourself, make sure the mechanic does a full cooling system inspection to find any leaks in the system that may need fixing. If you flush the radiator but ignore any leaks, your engine is likely to overheat again shortly after the flush.
How Do You Know When You Need a Radiator Flush?
Several signs may indicate that it is a good idea to get a radiator flush right away. If your car overheats, for example, it often means that there is either a leak in your coolant system or that the coolant is contaminated in some way. If your coolant level seems relatively full even though your engine has overheated, it is probably a good idea to flush the radiator.
Other signs that an immediate radiator flush is necessary includes coolant leaking underneath your car, grinding or knocking engine noise, visible debris in your coolant and steam or an odd smell rising from your hood.
How Often Should You Perform a Radiator Flush?
Opinions vary on how often you should do your radiator flush. Some experts say every five years, some every three, some annually. Most agree that if you have a new car with less than 10,000 miles on it, there should be no need to do a radiator flush for at least a year. If there are no other signs that you need to flush out your radiator, you should do it at least every 30,000 miles or according to your owner’s manual recommended schedule.
How Do You Do a Radiator Flush?
Getting your radiator flushed by a mechanic should run you less than $40. If your mechanic is trying to charge you more, or you’d rather take care of business yourself and save some cash, here’s how to flush your own radiator.
- Open the radiator cap and coolant reservoir cap.
- Find the radiator drain by consulting the owner’s manual. Place the container you will use to catch the flushed antifreeze underneath the drain.
- Once the container is properly situated, open the drain. Gravity will do the rest, forcing all the antifreeze to flow out into your container.
- Pour in your radiator flush as directed and fill the rest with water to about an inch below the top of the radiator opening. We recommend Hy-per Cool Radiator Cleaner & Super Flush. This is the highest-performing radiator cleaner and flush you can buy — a proven formula that cleans the entire system in 30 minutes or less.
- Close the caps and run the engine for ten minutes or so with the heater on full blast.
- Allow the engine to cool down, then drain the radiator again, refill the system with water and repeat the process.
- Drain the radiator again, and this time add your antifreeze.
Once you finish, be sure to thoroughly clean the area to get rid of any spilled antifreeze, and wash yourself thoroughly to get rid of any coolant or cleaning fluid that may have gotten onto your skin.
What Will Happen If You Don’t Flush Your Radiator?
Is a radiator flush necessary? What happens if you don’t do it? If a mechanic has suggested you flush your radiator because you are experiencing difficulties with your car, such as leaks, steam, rapid overheating or strange odors coming from the hood, then not flushing the radiator will mean you will continue to have these problems and your car’s performance will suffer as a result. If flushing the radiator will solve these problems, it’s much better to do it now than to ignore it and find yourself paying for a much more costly repair later.
If you are just wondering whether or not you can skip the recommended scheduled radiator flush, what you can expect to happen is that corrosion, sediment and other unwanted products will continue to build up in your coolant system. Eventually, this will likely lead to damage to gaskets or other components, meaning leaks, overheating and those other problems that are usually signs that your vehicle requires a radiator flush. It’s much better to do the radiator flush now than after it has started doing damage to your car’s engine.
For more information about Hy-per Cool Radiation Cleaner & Super Flush, contact Hy-per Lube now.
Posted on: Jun 15 2019
One of the problems you want to avoid when it comes to your car is having your engine coolant mixing with your oil. This can cause serious damage to your car, and if you discover it happening, you need to address it immediately.
But first off: how do oil and coolant get mixed together and what exactly can you do about it?
Why Is There Oil in My Coolant?
If there is oil in your coolant or vice versa, it generally means there is a failure in one or more of your engine’s gaskets or seals. Your engine is designed so that there is one system that controls engine oil to lubricate your vehicle and another that manages coolant to keep your car from overheating. Your cylinder head gasket (aka “head gasket”) is the part of your engine that prevents coolant or oil from leaking into one another. If you have a broken or damaged head gasket, you can expect your oil and coolant to start mixing.
Oil and coolant can also end up mixing if your engine overheats and either destroys the gasket or cracks the cylinder head. An accident that cracks the cylinder head or damages the engine block can result in oil and coolant mixing as well. We talk to customers all the time that have this problem.
Is Coolant in Engine Oil Dangerous?
As we pointed out and as you could probably guess, having your coolant and oil mixed is terrible for the health of your car. In basic terms, your car’s engine oil is designed to lubricate the internal components of your car so that they operate smoothly rather than grinding each other up via heat and friction.
You coolant has another purpose: it is designed to keep your car from overheating. The consequences of diluting either substance should be clear — but in case it’s not, the answer is that you can expect overheating and/or severe damage to your engine if you try to drive around with coolant leaking into oil or oil in the coolant reservoir.
How to Fix Oil in the Coolant Reservoir or Coolant in Your Oil
If you have oil mixed with coolant in the reservoir, you will notice a thick, milky or gravy-like substance that is a tell-tale sign that you have this issue. You will want to clean the reservoir thoroughly and flush the radiator with water. Similarly, you will want to check your oil dipstick and see if it shows an oil-coolant mixture in your oil tank. If so, you will want to change out your oil as well.
When changing the oil and coolant, we recommend adding quality products like our Hy-per Lube Oil Supplement. Hy-per Lube Oil Supplement seals piston rings and valve guides, which can prevent or reduce leaking issues. It can also give your oil greater protection, restore fuel economy and performance and extend the service life of your oil by as much as 50 percent.
You may also benefit from our Hy-per Cool Super Coolant, which is compatible with virtually every type of antifreeze and proven by independent Dyno-testing to lower engine temperatures up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the life of these solutions will vary according to the severity of the leak, the key is repairing it as soon as possible. If you are dealing with a blown head gasket, a cracked cylinder head or a cracked engine block — and if the leak is too severe — you may have to have a professional mechanic have a look.
With any luck, the problem will be minor, and the right stop leak/chemical fix will do the trick. However, if after your fix, your car quickly starts to overheat, turn off the vehicle and bring it in for repairs immediately. Your engine may already be severely damaged, and if not, it quickly will be if you continue to use the vehicle in its current state.
How Much Will It Cost to Fix Coolant in My Oil?
The temporary fix will only entail the cost of the replacement fluids and the stop leak products — it’s actually quite affordable. However, your long-term solution of fixing whatever gasket or component is causing the leak could be considerably more expensive. The worst-case scenario, the one you hopefully will not have to face, is that you have a crack in your engine block. If this is the situation, there is nothing to do but replace the engine, which typically runs about $4,000 to $8,000. Again, this is the worst-case scenario.
If you only have to replace the radiator and fix the transmission, it should not cost you more than $400 or $500. However, if your head gasket is completely destroyed and must be replaced, it could run you a couple thousand dollars, including parts and labor.
Hyper-Lube: Quality High-Performance Products for Your Car
If an accident damages your engine, there is little protection that proper vehicle maintenance can offer. But in general, using high-quality products and additives in your engine can often ward off problems like oil and coolant mixing.
If you’re looking for great products to help you get the most out of your oil and coolant, look to Hy-per Lube. Our experience with quality chemical additives for vehicle performance date back more than 60 years, to when Harold Hilton first formulated Hy-per Lube Oil Supplement back in the early ’50s.
We are constantly researching and perfecting our formulas, and today’s Hy-per Lube products are formulated with cutting-edge technology to maximize the benefits to your vehicle.
For maximum performance and protection, you need Hy-per Lube. We have a number of products to suit your vehicle’s needs. Remember that these products can potentially add extended life, performance and fuel economy benefits that can well outweigh the cost of the product.
To find a Hy-per Lube product near you, use this convenient store locator. Or, to discuss any of our products with a qualified expert, please feel free to contact us online right now.
Posted on: Jun 1 2019