You’ve probably seen it before. A vehicle stopped on the side of the road with smoke coming out of the hood. This is the result of an engine that’s overheated, which points to a problem with the cooling system. The best thing you can do to keep your cooling system healthy is a regular coolant flush. In this article, we’ll talk about why it’s so important and when you need to get this maintenance done.
How does the cooling system work?
Your engine’s spark plugs ignite fuel to give your vehicle power. This ignition creates lots of heat. If this heat isn’t regulated, it has the potential to damage the entire engine system. The job of the cooling system is to manage this heat.
To do so, liquid coolant is circulated throughout the engine. The cooling system also consists of the following:
- Radiator cooling fans
- Heater core
- Bypass system
- Freeze plugs
- Head gaskets
- Intake manifold gaskets
- Pressure cap and reserve tank
- Water pump
- Temperature sensor
These parts work together to make sure your engine doesn’t overheat.
What is a coolant flush?
Over time, your coolant gets contaminated with rust or other debris trapped in your engine. A coolant flush drains the polluted coolant and replaces it with brand new fluids. During this process, a cleaner is poured in to help remove excess rust and debris.
A coolant flush is different from topping off the coolant. Topping off your coolant is the process of adding coolant to your engine to ensure there’s enough to function. A coolant flush is done to remove polluted coolant and replace it with clean fluids.
Why is it important to get my coolant flushed?
Routine maintenance is important because it helps extend the lifespan of your vehicle. A coolant flush helps maintain the quality of your engine’s coolant. The coolant helps keep your engine from overheating. Therefore, a coolant flush can help prevent an engine malfunction.
As your engine ages, rust and scale deposits build up inside of it. This results in debris in the coolant. Your antifreeze has chemicals in it to help prevent this from happening, but over time it loses its anti-corrosive properties. Eventually, the thin tubes in your radiator and heater core can get blocked by particles in the coolant. Flushing the system cleans these particles, meaning effective performance for your engine.
How often does it need to be done?
Your owner’s manual or dealership can provide specific information on service guidelines for your vehicle. Long-lasting antifreeze is good for up to 150,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first. Other types require replacement every 30,000 miles, or 2 years. When in doubt, our licensed mechanics at Bonfe’s can help you figure out a plan for your vehicle.
We advise a cooling system check-up at least every two years. This should include the following:
- System power flush and coolant refill
- Visual inspection of all cooling system parts
- System pressure level check
- Pressure test
- Thermostat check
- Engine fan test
- Internal leak check
Keeping up with your auto maintenance will help ensure a long life for your engine. Do you need more information on getting a coolant flush? Bonfe’s is here for you. Give us a call today at (651) 222-4458.
What Is Brake Fluid and Why Is it So Important?
Of all the engine fluids, perhaps the most important one is the brake fluid. Unfortunately, it’s
often neglected more than it should be. In this article, we’ll review what brake fluid is and why
it’s so important. We’ll also talk about what steps you should take for routine maintenance of
your brake fluid. Keep reading to learn more.
What is brake fluid?
Your vehicle’s brake fluid provides the necessary hydraulic force to apply the brakes. This
hydraulic, non-compressible fluid travels throughout the braking system. Its role is to bring the
force of your foot on the brake pedal to the calipers on your brakes. With this force, the calipers
clamp down onto the rotors, bringing your vehicle to a stop. Without the correct amount of
brake fluid in the system, your brakes malfunction.
Since the engine produces a tremendous amount of heat, brake fluid is designed with this in
mind. It needs to have a high boiling point to prevent it from vaporizing. Brake fluid can also
maintain a constant viscosity, no matter what temperature it’s in. This is especially true in
vehicles with an anti-lock braking system because it helps ensure that the brake fluid can flow
throughout the intricate parts.
Brake fluids have additives that help prevent engine corrosion. Over time, the engine’s metal
components will corrode. If they’re not taken care of, this will happen at a much faster rate.
Brake fluid helps increase the longevity of these engine parts.
Most brake fluids are glycol-ether-based. Glycol-ether fluids are hygroscopic, which means they
can absorb moisture in the atmosphere. Eventually, the amount of water in the brake fluid
reduces its boiling point. If this happens, your brakes will have decreased stopping ability. Too
much water in the brake fluid is also bad for metallic engine components and can cause them to
corrode at a faster rate. This is why it’s imperative to test your brake fluid regularly and get it
replaced as needed.
How often should it be changed?
Not all brake fluids are the same. Different brake fluids have different change intervals. As is
true with a lot of vehicle maintenance, it’s a good idea to consult your manual for
manufacturer-specific recommendations. Of course, our licensed technicians at Bonfe’s can help
you out with this as well.
We recommend getting your brake fluid replaced or flushed at least every year or two. Over
time, the appearance of your brake fluid will indicate it needs replacement. Most brake fluid is
clear or amber-colored. As it ages, it turns into a dark, murky shade of brown. If your brake
fluid looks like this, then it’s time to get it replaced.
We also suggest having your brake fluid’s moisture content tested periodically, especially if you
live in an area with lots of humidity. Most places will conduct a brake fluid test if you request
one when getting your oil changed. This will provide more information on the quality of your
vehicle’s brake fluid. It’s also a good idea to inspect your brake fluid whenever you’re topping
off your other fluids. A small decrease in brake fluid over time is normal, but if this happens
often, it could point to a bigger issue with your braking system.
Do you need your brake fluid tested or replaced? Our certified technicians are here to help.
Give Bonfe’s a call today at ( 651) 222-4458 . We look forward to hearing from you.
Transmission Fluid: How to Take Care of It, and Why It’s So Important
Did you know that maintaining your transmission fluid is just as important as getting your oil changed? Unfortunately, lots of people tend to neglect their transmission fluid. Today, we’ll discuss the role transmission fluid plays in your vehicle. We’ll also talk about some steps you can take for proper maintenance.
What is transmission fluid, and why is it important?
The job of the transmission is to shift the vehicle into different gears. This is what allows you to park, reverse, and drive. Shifting gears is hard work for the engine. Transmission fluid helps with this process by lubricating metal transmission parts. This helps prevent wear and damage. Transmission fluid also serves as a coolant, preventing the transmission from overheating.
Types of transmission fluid
There are several different kinds of transmission fluids. Most of them can be categorized as either manual or automatic transmission fluid. In addition to these are specialty fluids and synthetic formulas.
Automatic transmission fluid is used in vehicles with automatic transmissions. These days, many vehicles with manual transmissions also need automatic transmission fluid. It helps with many engine functions, including the following:
● Coolant for the transmission
● Gear lubrication
● Valve body operation
● Clutch operation
● Friction for brake band
● Torque converter operation
Manual transmission fluid is less common than automatic transmission fluid. It’s usually only needed in older vehicles with manual transmissions. Modern manual cars typically need automatic transmission fluid. Synthetic transmission fluid is formulated to withstand high engine temperatures. That means it’s less likely to break down. The type of transmission fluid you need depends on the specifics of your vehicle. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to consult your owner’s manual or a transmission expert.
How to check your transmission fluid
An easy way to check the status of your transmission is to look at the condition and level of the transmission fluid. Some newer vehicle models have sealed transmissions. In this case, consult your owner’s manual for specific information on how to maintain your transmission.
Assuming your transmission is not sealed, you’ll need to find the transmission dipstick to check your fluid level. This is typically found beneath the hood in the engine compartment. First, take the dipstick out and wipe it clean. Next, slowly replace it and then remove it again. This will show your current fluid level, which can be read using the marks on the dipstick. Low fluid means there’s probably a leak somewhere in your vehicle. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to bring your car in for diagnostics to identify the root of the problem.
Once you’ve checked your fluid levels, take note of the fluid’s color. This is best done by placing the dipstick against a white paper towel. Normal transmission fluid is usually pinkish-red. If it’s a slightly darker hue of brownish-red, then you should get it replaced soon. If your transmission fluid happens to be dark, then you have a bigger problem on your hands. A brownish-black color fluid often points to an issue with the transmission that needs to be handled right away.
Maintaining your transmission and fluid helps keep your vehicle in top condition. This saves you money in the long run. Do you have questions about your transmission or fluids? Our experts at Bonfe’s are here to help. Give us a call today at (651) 222-4458.