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By Sahil Khan
Once your car touches the 30,000-kilometre mark, be sure that there will be some parts which need a change or at least a relook to check if they are in good condition. The coolant is one such important element which will need a change after running such a distance. A mixture of water and antifreeze coolant, it is one element in your car which ensures that your car engine does not heat up. The engine coolant also prevents rust corrosion and anti-freeze in colder countries.
Considering the hot and very hot climate in GCC countries, it’s important to check your engine coolant levels regularly, if possible weekly or monthly at least. Also, if you have been practicing to feed your car with water every week or so, you must have made your coolant quite weak. And because of the usage of air conditioners in the cars in Dubai, it is best to ensure that there is a good mix of coolant and water. Normally, an engine is comfortable with a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water. Also, keep the radiator flushed to prevent electrolysis due to breakdown of old coolant.
Before doing anything, please make sure that the engine is cold otherwise the pressurized system could release hot water and steam het as soon as you open the radiator cap. If you notice that your coolant has deposits in it or the original color (green/red) has changed, then it needs to be changed immediately. It also indicates that there could be a more serious problem inside the cooling system itself. A mechanic will be required to address the fault.
The coolant tank is usually located towards the front-end of the car and has a colored cap. To know whether it is time, there are Coolant testers available which are cheap and easy to use. You can go through the instruction on the package. It has enough clarity to quickly understand and diagnose.
Some coolants can also be tested with a paper test strip. Dipping the strips into the coolant and matching the color of the strip to a chart provided with the strip allows determining its condition.
You could also use a refractometer. Drip couple of drops on the space provided on the meter and close the cover. Once pointed to light, you can read the scale. You could also try Hydrometers, but not the bulb type, as they have been proven to be less accurate.
Coolant level can deplete if there are leaks or weak hoses, so you will have to make sure that all connections are tight and healthy. Low levels of coolant/antifreeze could indicate a leak, so you either need to visit a mechanic or use a sealant product like Prestone Head Gasket and Engine Block Repair to temporarily block the leak until you arrange a mechanic visit.
Caution: Whichever brand of coolant you choose, ensure that it is approved by the car manufacturers for the type of engine.
If you need more help, or need specific answer for any question then try the ‘Carnity Forum’ (http://carnity.com/) or find car businesses near you with the Carnity ‘Business listing’ (http://carnity.com/business_listing) section.