Cooling system maintenance myths busted

September 15th, 2021 by

We live in the age of information, which can have its pros and cons. While we can search about almost any topic on our computers or mobile device, this accessibility also means that there is a lot of misinformation out there. Especially when it comes to suspicious companies that simply want to make a profit, regardless of whether the information they’re providing is false. When it comes to your vehicle’s cooling system, beware of misleading opinions and always consult with a certified and trained automotive technician at Ron Hodgson if you’re unsure.

Myth #1: The cooling system is the least of your worries

A vehicle is made of crucial components that complement and work together to keep the car running at an optimal level. Surely, with important parts such as the tires, steering system, and engine, the cooling system is the least of your worries, right? False! In fact, if the cooling system fails, it can result in major damage to the engine. The cooling system is not a maintenance-free component. If these parts break down over time, what you could be left with is an engine damaged beyond repair.

Myth #2: You can mix and use any coolant brands

Although we wish it were that easy, the quality and brand of the coolant are very important details. Always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the specific type of coolant, as some manufacturers will void the warranty if a different type is used. If you’re low on coolant and need to top it off, it’s important to use the same brand and type of coolant to do so. Before switching to a different brand, the existing coolant must be drained.

Additionally, coolant breaks down, which is why flushing the system according to a schedule is essential for maintenance. A coolant flush not only removes the fluid but cleans out the contaminants that have built up over time. Typically, the service technician will thoroughly clean out the entire system and apply a protective conditioner. This helps protect your car against corrosion and prevent damages.

Myth #3: A small drip is not an emergency

Any leak is a cause for concern, no matter how small. Whether it’s the water pump or radiator, a leak should be addressed immediately before it becomes a major emergency. Leaks can lead to other issues, such as low coolant levels and an overheating engine.

Myth #4: When your car is overheating, increase vehicle speed and turn your heater on full-blast.

Without knowing the root cause, this can result in more damage. New GM vehicles have an overheat protection that first displays on the dash that the vehicle is overheating and to stop the engine, idle engine, reduced engine power, or in some cases, the computer will automatically shut off the engine. If the ‘ENGINE OVERHEATED STOP ENGINE or the ENGINE OVERHEATED IDLE ENGINE’ message appears with no sign of steam, try this for a minute or so:

  • Turn the air conditioning off.
  • Turn the heater on to the highest temperature and to the highest fan speed. Open the windows as necessary.
  • When it is safe to do so, pull off the road, shift to P (Park) or N (Neutral) and let the engine idle.

Never ignore an overheating engine. Give our service centre at Ron Hodgson GMC a call to identify the issue.

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