Your cooling system consists of several parts, including the radiator, water pump, thermostat and hoses. A mixture of coolant and water constantly flows through the system to reduce the temperature inside the engine.
Coolant systems service consists of first draining the old coolant mixture. Coolant can become contaminated over time with particles that can damage the system and engine. Draining the radiator removes about half of the coolant mixture, and specialized equipment is used to remove the portion that remains in the engine.
Depending on the vehicle's mileage, the thermostat is typically replaced because an old thermostat is more likely to fail and cause the engine to overheat. Next, the technician will perform a thorough inspection of the cooling system's hoses, connections, and other components to identify any potential issues. Once the system is together and inspected, it will be refilled with the proper mixture of coolant and water, allowing you to get back on the road without worrying about overheating.
If it's been a while, or you can't remember when you last had your cooling system inspected, you can check your owner's manual to determine how often this service should be performed. Routine coolant system inspections can identify relatively minor, easy and inexpensive to repair problems, while ignoring them can lead to significant damage.
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