Things to Know About Vehicle Antifreeze - information from the the pros at Shingle Springs Subaru

At Shingle Springs Subaru, the experts in our factory-authorized service center want you to know a few things about keeping your vehicle's engine cool. While Subaru models are equipped with the uniquely capable BOXER® engine, you'll find this information applies to virtually all engines that require coolant. When it comes time to maintain the coolant system in your vehicle, trust the experts in our dealership service center at Shingle Springs Subaru.

Green antifreeze being poured into a car radiator

6. What's the Difference Between Antifreeze & Coolant?

You may have heard these two terms used interchangeably, and that's not necessarily wrong. However, there is a distinction to be aware of. Antifreeze is essentially made of a chemical compound called Ethylene Glycol, and Coolant is a mixture of this antifreeze and water. Usually, this mixture is 50/50, but with today's advanced engineering, things have gotten a bit more complicated. Aluminum radiators typically require a special coolant mixture and many manufacturers require their own special coolant. So, instead of just dumping in a few gallons of whatever you find at the local car parts box store, we strongly recommend leaving maintenance like coolant flushes to dealership experts who are certain to use the correct coolant mixture for your vehicle.

Hand removing cap to coolant overflow tank

5. The Right Kind Of Coolant For Your Vehicle

Now that different manufacturers are designing engine cooling systems with specific antifreeze/coolant types and mixtures to be used, it's even more important to ensure the correct kind of coolant for your engine. Some are designed specifically to prevent corrosion throughout the system and the correct type of coolant is also important for any warranty that may remain on the vehicle. If you are looking to maintain a Subaru coolant system yourself, we strongly recommend that you swing by a dealership parts department like ours at Shingle Springs Subaru to ensure that you get the correct type of coolant for your vehicle.

4. Your Car's Engine Coolant System Is Under Pressure

Of course, we're not talking about the 1983 hit from ZZ Top. But did you know that the engine coolant system in your vehicle is under pressure soon after the engine is started? This pressure significantly raises the coolant's boiling temperature, and that helps the system work far more efficiently by carrying much more heat away from the engine. This is why you should never remove a car's radiator cap when the engine is hot. Not only is the cap itself hot enough to cause serious burns, releasing the pressure could result in a scalding geyser of boiling coolant. What's more, the radiator cap is what regulates this pressure. Often, a simple expired radiator cap can be responsible for an engine overheating.

Steam erupts from a car radiator

3. So, How Often Should You Flush Your Car's Coolant System?

The answer to this ultimately depends on what the owner's manual for your vehicle says. That's because different engines and driving habits will determine just how long the coolant will last. Typically, technicians will inspect and test the coolant as part of scheduled maintenance around 20,000 or 30,000 miles. If the test results warrant it, we might recommend that the coolant mixture be replaced. But chances are that it'll last a lot longer. In fact, modern Subaru coolant can last upwards of 130,000 miles before it needs to be replaced.

2. What If Your Car Is Leaking Antifreeze?

While there are issues with a car that you can ignore and get by for a while with, an antifreeze leak is not one of them. Remember how we were saying that the coolant system is under pressure? That also means even a small pin hole in your radiator from a rogue rick or other road debris can empty out the coolant system in a hurry. Without that perfect mixture of antifreeze, water, and other coolant solutions, the engine will generate more heat than it can handle. That could lead to major internal engine damage that might not even be repairable.

This is also why we strongly recommend that you check your coolant level frequently. Every time you fill the tank with gas is not too often to check the coolant level in your engine. If ever it is running low, you probably could be OK if you just topped it off with water and drove straight to the service center. However, we think even this is too much of a risk and recommend that you just have an overheating car towed to the shop. That way, you're sure to avoid any further damage from an overheating engine.

1. Who Should You Trust To Maintain Your Vehicle's Coolant System

It's no surprise to hear us say it, but it really is important to get your vehicle maintained by experts who have been extensively trained by the factory to know every nut and bolt in your vehicle. You're only certain to find that at an authorized dealership service center. For those who enjoy the many advantages of driving a Subaru, no one knows your vehicle better than our technicians at Shingle Springs Subaru. Reach out to us with any questions you might have or just schedule your next Subaru maintenance, service, or repair appointment right here online. We look forward to showing you just how easy it is to take the very best care of your ride.

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Shingle Springs Subaru

4045 Wild Chaparral Dr
Directions Shingle Springs, CA 95682

  • Sales: 530-677-8771
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