You’ve probably seen it. A vehicle stopped on the side of the road with smoke coming out of the hood. That’s an overheated engine, and it’s not a problem anyone wants to deal with. If you take good care of your cooling system, chances are you’ll never have to deal with this problem. Regularly scheduled coolant flushes help keep your cooling system in superior condition. Today, we’ll talk about what a coolant flush is, and why you need to incorporate it as part of your car’s maintenance plan.
How does the cooling system work?
The cooling system works to control the massive amount of heat produced by the engine. It circulates coolant throughout your engine parts to keep them at optimal temperatures. In addition to coolant, the cooling system is also made up of the following:
- Temperature sensor
- Water pump
- Pressure cap and reserve tank
- Intake manifold gaskets
- Head gaskets
- Heater core
- Bypass system
- Radiator cooling fans
- Freeze plugs
Without the cooling system, heat would destroy your entire engine.
What is a coolant flush?
As your engine ages, rust develops, which flakes off and pollutes the coolant fluids. The purpose of a coolant flush is to replace the contaminated coolant with clean fluids. A coolant flush is different from simply topping off the coolant floods. Topping off is done to make sure there’s enough fluid in the system to function properly. However, this doesn’t strip the coolant of its impurities. The only way to remove these particles is by flushing out and replacing your system’s antifreeze.
Why is it important to get a coolant flush?
There are lots of reasons why getting your coolant flushed regularly is a good idea. For one, it refreshes your antifreeze. As antifreeze ages, two things happen. It loses its anti-corrosion properties, making it less effective, and it gets increasingly more acidic. Too much acidity is bad for your engine, and can even damage some of its components over time. Another benefit to a coolant flush is that this is the only way to remove harmful pollutants from the coolant liquid. These particles can obstruct the thin tubes in the heater core and radiator, which leads to overheating.
Coolant flushes also help keep your water pump in peak condition. It lubricates the water pump and helps ensure unwanted particles stay out of it. Both of these things help your water pump last longer.
How often does it need to be done?
The answer to this question is different for everyone, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. To get specifics on this, it’s a good idea to take a look at your owner’s manual. You can also speak to one of our licensed technicians, who can help you determine a maintenance plan that meets your needs. Since some coolants last as long as 5 years and others only last up to 2 years, it’s a good idea to seek professional guidance with this.
We encourage all vehicle owners to get a complete inspection of their cooling systems every other year at a minimum. This examination should include:
- System power flush and coolant refill
- System pressure level check
- Pressure test
- Internal leak check
- Engine fan test
- Thermostat check
- Visual inspection of all cooling system parts
Do you have questions about your cooling system? Give Lloyd’s Automotive a call today at (651) 228-1316.
Everything You Need to Know About Your Vehicle’s Brake Fluid
Anyone who knows cars knows how important brake fluid is to the health and safety of your
vehicle. Far too often, it’s neglected and underappreciated. Today, we’ll take a look at what
brake fluid does and why it’s so important. We’ll also discuss some tips for keeping your brake
fluid in prime condition.
What is Brake Fluid?
Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that transports force throughout the braking system. Since it’s
incompressible, it converts force into pressure and moves it out of the master cylinder to the
calipers. With this pressure, the calipers can clamp down onto the rotors. This is what prevents
your wheels from spinning and brings your car to a complete stop. Without brake fluid, the
entire braking system wouldn’t be able to operate.
Since car engines produce a lot of heat, the brake fluid needs to be able to endure extreme
temperatures. The fact that it has a very high boiling point stops it from all vaporizing. If this
happened, the brakes would give out because there would be no fluid to create hydraulic
pressure. Brake fluid can also maintain a stable viscosity, even when exposed to extreme heat or
cold. Since brake fluid has to travel through complex engine parts, consistent viscosity is
Most brake fluid is glycol-ether-based and absorbs water from the surrounding atmosphere. This
means that your brake fluid always contains some amount of water. However, too much water in
your system can be problematic. For one thing, water can corrode metallic engine parts.
Furthermore, too much water can reduce the boiling point of the brake fluid. This could cause
the brake fluid to vaporize, leading to decreased stopping power. To prevent these issues, test the
water content of your brake fluid and replace it periodically.
How often does brake fluid need to be changed?
Over time, brake fluid gets polluted by engine debris, such as rust particles. Depending on the
make and model of your vehicle, we generally recommend a complete flush and replacement of
brake fluids every year or so. It’s important to note that there are several different types of brake
fluid. Each variety comes with recommended changing intervals. If you’re not sure what type of
brake fluid your vehicle needs, don’t worry. Our friendly technicians can help you figure out a
brake fluid plan that’s best for your vehicle.
Signs Brake Fluid should be Changed
The appearance of your brake fluid changes as it ages. New brake fluid is usually clear or
amber-colored. As it’s gradually contaminated by engine debris, its appearance becomes dark
and murky. This is the most apparent sign that you need your brake fluid replaced.
Your vehicle’s fluid levels are always something to be mindful of. From a preventative
maintenance standpoint, it’s especially important to keep an eye on your brake fluid. It’s
perfectly normal to see a small decrease here, but it shouldn’t happen too often. If you’re
experiencing this often, it probably means there’s an underlying issue in your system that
Does your brake fluid need to be replaced or tested? Our licensed professionals at Lloyd’s
Automotive are happy to help. Give us a call today at (651) 228-1316.
The Importance of Transmission Fluid and How to Take Care of It
Getting your oil changed isn’t the only fluid that needs replacing in your vehicle. There’s also the transmission fluid. In this article, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about your transmission fluid, including how to keep it in top condition. Let’s dive in.
What is transmission fluid, and why is it important?
The transmission is the part of your engine that allows you to shift into different gears. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to reverse, drive, or park. Over time, this gear changing takes its toll on the transmission. That’s where the transmission fluid comes in. This lubricant minimizes the friction of metal transmission components and works as a cooling agent. The result is smooth gear changing and decreased damage and wear.
Types of transmission fluid
There are several types of transmission fluid. The formula you need depends on the specifics of your vehicle. When in doubt, it’s always best to refer to your owner’s manual or manufacturer. Transmission fluids are generally classified as either automatic or manual.
Automatic transmission fluid is needed for vehicles with automatic transmissions. Some manual transmission vehicles require it as well. It’s a hydraulic fluid that has a lower viscosity than manual transmission fluid. This pressurized fluid plays an important role in many engine functions, including the following:
- Gear lubrication
- Transmission coolant
- Clutch operation
- Valve body operation
- Torque converter operation
- Brake band friction
Manual transmission fluid is thicker. This makes it trickier to shift in and out of gear, especially in colder weather. Because of this, lots of newer manual transmission vehicles require automatic transmission fluid.
Another difference in transmission fluids is traditional or synthetic. Traditional transmission fluid is made of crude oil. As a result, it can oxidize at high temperatures. Synthetic transmission fluid is specifically designed to stand up to heat. That means it won’t be affected by the extreme heat emitted from the engine.
How to check your transmission fluid
Transmission fluid needs to be changed out at specified intervals. Most manufacturers recommend replacement every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you’re not sure about the status of your transmission fluid, a visual inspection can be helpful. First, locate the transmission dipstick. This is typically found beneath the hood in the engine compartment. If you can’t find it, then your transmission might be sealed. Some newer vehicles don’t require transmission maintenance. Refer to your owner’s manual for more information on this matter.
Assuming you can check the transmission fluid, remove the dipstick and clean it off. Then, slowly replace it and take it out again. After removing it, you’ll be able to read your fluid level against the markings on the dipstick. If your fluid level is low, it’s important to figure out why that’s happening. Often, it’s indicative of a leak somewhere in your engine. If you suspect this, then reach out to a service provider to identify the root of the problem.
While the dipstick is out, take note of the fluid color. Heathy transmission fluid has a pinkish-red hue. A brownish-red color indicates it’s due for replacement. A dark brown or black shade points to a serious issue with the transmission. This usually only happens when regular service intervals are skipped or delayed.
Avoid expensive repair or replacement of your transmission by keeping its fluid in good condition. Do you have questions about your transmission fluid? Give Lloyd’s Automotive a call today at (651) 228-1316.