Like all other fluid in your car, the antifreeze/coolant used by your radiator to keep your engine at peak operating temperature requires periodic replacement. There are some key differences between an oil change and changing your antifreeze, and that can make the process a little bit more involved than simply pulling the plug and draining out the old coolant.
According to the fluids experts at Castrol, one of the key aspects of cooling system maintenance is flushing out old antifreeze regularly enough to avoid the formation of rust and sludge. Your engine bay contains tubing and piping that is designed to transport coolant to and from the engine, and through the HVAC system, and the engine itself also features internal passages, which circulate antifreeze on a continual basis. Over time, these passages can get clogged up with corrosion or sludge – stuff that doesn’t always drain out easily on its own.
Fortunately, your dealership offers the specialized equipment and expertise required to flush out any cooling system contaminants and ensure that the antifreeze mixture running through your radiator is as pure as possible. Dealership technicians don’t just remove old coolant and fill your car up with a new mixture; instead, they employ a machine designed to run a unique mixture of antifreeze and distilled water through your engine’s entire cooling system and then vacuum it all out, creating enough pressure during the process to also remove any debris that might be lurking inside your radiator or its associated plumbing.
There are a number of other benefits associated with going to the dealership for a coolant flush. The first is the time savings involved. Using a computerized radiator flush machine can cut the amount of time required for the entire flush and fill process to as little as 15 minutes, which is significantly shorter than the hours required for a gravity drain, garden hose refill, second drain for flushing purposes and then filling everything up again in the driveway at home. More importantly, using a dealership’s fluid flush service is much safer, both for you and for the environment. You don’t have to worry about dealing with the scalding hot antifreeze that courses through your engine, nor do you run the risk of spilling the used ethylene glycol coolant on the ground. The often "sweet" smelling and tasting fluid can potentially poison family pets and eventually seep into the water supply doing a great deal of damage to the local environment. Even if your car features “non-toxic” propylene glycol coolant, the coolant has still picked up nasty contaminants and trace metals from inside the engine, so simply pouring it on the ground is extremely detrimental to the environment.
Dealership antifreeze flushes are a convenient, inexpensive and an important aspect of your vehicle’s routine maintenance schedule. As a general guideline, Castrol recommends flushing your coolant every two years, but check with your dealership to learn the specific recommendations of your vehicle so that you can benefit from the peace of mind that this type of service offers.