How Often Should I Change Engine Coolant?

When is the right time to change your engine coolant? For some vehicles, you’re advised to change the coolant every 30,000 miles. For others, changing it isn’t even on the maintenance schedule.

For example, Hyundai says the coolant in the engine (what many refer to as “antifreeze”) in most of its models should be replaced after the first 60,000 miles, then every 30,000 miles after that. The interval is every 30,000 miles on some Mercedes-Benz models with some engines, but on others it’s 120,000 miles or 12 years. On still other Mercedes, it’s 150,000 miles or 15 years.

Some manufacturers recommend you drain and flush the engine’s cooling system and change the coolant more often on vehicles subjected to “severe service,” such as frequent towing, which can generate more heat. The schedule for many Chevrolets, though, is a change at 150,000 miles regardless of how the vehicle is driven.

Many service shops, though — including some at dealerships that sell cars with “lifetime” coolant — say you should do a coolant change more often than the maintenance schedule recommends, such as every 30,000 or 50,000 miles.

Here’s why: Most vehicles use long-life engine coolant (usually a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water) in the radiator that for several years will provide protection against boiling in hot weather and freezing in cold temperatures, with little or no maintenance. Modern vehicles also have longer intervals between fluid changes of all types partly because environmental regulators have pressured automakers to reduce the amount of old coolant, as well as other waste fluids, that must be disposed of or recycled.

Coolant can deteriorate over time and should be tested to see if it’s still good, as it can be hard to tell just by appearances. Even if the coolant reservoir shows sufficient coolant level and testing shows the cooling and antifreeze protection are still adequate, a coolant drain and antifreeze flush may be needed.

The coolant can become more acidic over time and lose its rust-inhibiting properties, causing corrosion. Corrosion can damage the radiator, water pump, thermostat, radiator cap, hoses and other parts of the cooling system, as well as to the vehicle heater system. And that can cause a car engine to overheat.

Thus, the coolant in any vehicle with more than about 50,000 miles should be tested periodically. That’s to look for signs of rust, leaks and to make sure it has sufficient cooling and overheating protection, even if the cooling system seems to be working properly and the reservoir is full. The cooling system can be checked with test strips that measure acidity, and with a hydrometer that measures freezing and boiling protection.

If the corrosion inhibitors have deteriorated, the antifreeze coolant should be changed. The cooling system might also need flushing to remove contaminants no matter what the maintenance schedule calls for or how many miles are on the odometer. On the other hand, if testing shows the coolant is still doing its job protecting from overheating and not allowing corrosion, changing it more often than what the manufacturer recommends could be a waste of money.

https://www.cars.com/articles/how-often-should-i-change-engine-coolant-1420680853669/

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Oil Change Intervals

One of the biggest myths in car maintenance is how often to change the oil. For years, mechanics recommended oil changes every 3,000 miles. Thanks to modern engine technology, most auto manufacturers now recommend oil changes between 7,500 and 10,000 miles.

To keep your oil clean, consider these tips:

  • If you have a newer vehicle, trust the oil life monitor to indicate your next oil change.
  • Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for recommended oil change intervals.
  • Check your oil level regularly using the dipstick. If it is low, add more oil— if it looks dirty, change it out.

Whether you change your own oil or have it done by a mechanic, be sure to keep track of the mileage. You can make notes of your maintenance in your owner’s manual, or keep a small notebook with dates and mileage to help remember when your next oil change should be.

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https://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/basic-car-care.php

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The Preventive Maintenance You Need to Do On Your Car (and When)

Preventive Maintenance Every Vehicle Needs

When we covered the ways you can save serious money on car repair, more than a few people pointed out that preventive maintenance is probably one of the biggest ways you can save money—not actively, but in the long term. Spending a little money now on these basics will save you from more costly repairs later on:

  • Do your own inspection. It’s basic, but give your car a once-over periodically so you catch anything that looks out of the ordinary. Make sure all your lights are working. Check the air pressure in your tires every month or so (and buy a cheap tire air pressure gauge and keep it in the glove compartment). Doing so is good for your tires, gets you better mileage, and saves you money in gas if you discover that the pressure is off. Listen for any strange sounds, inside and out. Make sure your tires have enough tread. You can use a penny to do it, or look out for the wear indicators on the tire treads. If anything’s out of the ordinary, don’t ignore it.
  • Learn to check your fluids. Even if you don’t ever learn how to change your antifreeze, power steering, coolant, or even your wiper fluid (although seriously, don’t let someone charge you to change wiper fluid), you should learn how to check those fluid levels. In some cases, you can see the tank level directly, but most have gauges or dipsticks you can pull out to check current levels against a notch that indicates optimal levels. Even if your owner’s manual doesn’t have much to say about checking your transmission fluid or antifreeze, don’t be afraid to open the hood and see if you can find it. If you’re running low, add more (if you can) or get it changed. Most importantly, never ignore a leak.
  • Inspect and get your timing and serpentine belts replaced when necessary. Many people will tell you to get your timing belt replaced every 60,000 miles or so, and your serpentine belt replaced every 40,000 miles, give or take. Again, your owner’s manual will offer real numbers for your type of vehicle. If you can’t find the manual, look around online. You’ll probably find the actual recommendation for your car. Use it as a guideline, and ask your mechanic to inspect the belts when it gets time to replace them mileage-wise. If they’re still in good shape, don’t bother, but if they’re worn out, get them replaced before they fail. If you wait and those belts do fail, you’ll break down, and the damaged belt can damage other accessories, making the repair even more expensive.

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  • Check your oil and get it changed regularly. Whether your car has a dipstick to check the oil’s color and oil level or the dipstick has been replaced with an electronic gauge, you should know how to check it. Knowing the difference between clean oil and muddy, murky oil will save you a ton on unnecessary changes and gives you a way to tell if something’s wrong with your engine (e.g. the oil looks terrible but you just had it changed). It’s hard to make a universal recommendation for how frequently you should change your oil, but the answer is—as we mentioned—in your owner’s manual. Don’t just blindly follow the 3,000 mile myth though—for most vehicles it can be as high as 10,000 miles, depending on the oil your vehicle calls for (something else that’s in the manual).

Click here for more:

https://lifehacker.com/the-preventative-maintenance-you-need-to-do-on-your-car-1394196018

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Must-Haves for Your Winter Driving Kit

Winter Car Breakdown - Woman Call For Help

1. A folding shovel

If you find yourself suddenly snowed in or stuck in a snow bank, a good shovel can be a lifesaver. Check out compact, lightweight folding varieties that store easily in the trunk.

2. A windshield scraper and de-icer 

Make sure you carry a decent windshield scraper to get snow and ice off your windshield and mirrors. For extreme ice build-up, consider using a de-icer to save you precious time and energy.

3. Extra water and high-energy snack foods

Even in cold weather, staying hydrated is extremely important. Bring along a few bottles of clean water with you before you head out. And stow some high-energy snack foods with a long shelf life (like energy bars, unsalted trail mix, and hard candy) in your car at all times.

4. Emergency signaling device

Flares are incredibly useful if you’re stuck in snow  they can be used to start a signal fire, and the heat they emit helps them stay visible in heavy snow conditions. Battery-powered signals are valuable too and have the benefit of staying lit longer than a flare.

5. A flashlight with extra batteries

Save the battery power on your cell phone and use a spare flashlight instead.

6. A way to charge your cell phone

Being able to use your cell phone is going to be a huge help in any emergency. Whether you carry a portable charger, power pack, or adapter, make sure you have a reliable, remote way to charge your cell phone when your battery gets low.

7. A wireless beacon

Going off the grid or into an area with no cell service? Consider picking up an emergency beacon, which can wirelessly transmit your GPS location to family and emergency services using satellite technology.

8. A first-aid kit

A basic first-aid kit with bandages, gauze, a cleaning agent, and pain relievers is a must-have for your car kit in every season.

9. Warm clothes and a blanket

If you need to use your car as a temporary shelter, you won’t be able to run the engine for heat indefinitely. Bring extra layers that can keep your extremities warm (think knit hats, a pair of socks, gloves, and a warm blanket). Hand and feet warmers are also easy to store and can help keep you toasty in case of emergency.

10. Snow socks or chains

If you get stuck and need that little bit of extra traction to get your car moving, snow chains or snow socks (which are easier to install than chains) can help give you the grip you need.

Take extra precautions when driving in winter and do what you can to help reduce your risk of a weather-related accident.

http://blog.esurance.com/10-must-haves-for-your-winter-driving-kit/

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Wet Weather Driving Tips

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Avoid Cruise Control

Most modern cars feature cruise control. This feature works great in dry conditions, but when used in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle can increase. To prevent loss of traction, the driver may need to reduce the car’s speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is engaged.

When driving in wet-weather conditions, it is important to concentrate fully on every aspect of driving. Avoiding cruise control will allow the driver more options to choose from when responding to a potential loss-of-traction situation, thus maximizing your safety.

Slow Down and Leave Room

Slowing down during wet weather driving can be critical to reducing a car’s chance of hydroplaning, when the tires rise up on a film of water. With as little as 1/12 inch of water on the road, tires have to displace a gallon of water per second to keep the rubber meeting the road. Drivers should reduce their speed to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. At speeds as low as 35 mph, new tires can still lose some contact with the roadway.

To reduce chances of hydroplaning, drivers should slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you. Also, it’s important for motorists to allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance of the vehicle in front of them and beginning to slow down to stop for intersections, turns and other traffic early.

Responding to a Skid

Even careful drivers can experience skids. If a driver feels their car begin to skid, it’s important to not panic and follow these basic steps:

  • Continue to look and steer in the direction in which the driver wants the car to go.
  • Avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.

If you feel the car begin to skid, continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go. Don’t panic, and avoid slamming on the brakes to maintain control.

Overall you want to be extra cautious in wet weather. Slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and allow ample stopping distance between you and the cars in front of you. Also, do these things one-at-a-time. Brake, then turn, then accelerate.

http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/wet-weather-driving-tips/#.Wimr-kqnHcs

 

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