What Is A Coolant?

Many fluids go into making your auto work. There is power steering fluid, vital for making steering easy. Your vehicle will have brake fluid to all the systems to have to stop power — oil for the transmission and engine to keep internal parts cool and lubricated. But without coolant, your vehicle’s engine wouldn’t last long.

Functions of A Coolant

Coolant is a fluid that runs into your vehicle’s engine block out through hoses to the radiator. It is a fluid, with the main task of keeping your engine block at the right operating temperature. The primary function of regulating temperature is done with the other parts of the cooling system — these parts, including the radiator, fans, thermostat, and water pump. The cooled fluid will be sent straight to the inside of your engine, and when the thermostat reads that the engine is getting hot, it will open to allow fluid to flow.

Engine coolant not only needs to keep the engine cool, but it also serves as anti-freeze, which it is commonly referred to. Anti-freeze prevents the block from cracking under the pressure of being at lower than usual operating temps. It is crucial that in the winter months, you’re vehicle has anti-freeze in the system.

What Causes Coolant To Leak?

Coolant leaks are the most common issue for the cooling system. They can occur at any point in the system too. From a leak in the radiator to a leak at the water pump, all are significant problems that need to be addressed. Most people have experienced a leaking or bad radiator. When this happens, you’ll notice that there is a puddle of coolant from sitting, and typically the low coolant light will illuminate.

Accidents can cause a bad radiator, as well as road debris. Because the cooling system is pressurized, a leak can happen over time because of a bad seal or gasket. If you find that there is fluid collecting under your car, your car starts to overheat, or you see a low coolant light, it’s time to bring your German auto in for service.

Different Coolant Types

When talking about coolant, there are three main types a vehicle can call for. Those three types of coolant can branch off from different brands to include additives and special formulas in which the manufacturer specifies. The three main types of coolant include:

● Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT)
● Organic Acid Technology (OAT)
● Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT)

Which your car uses depends on the manufacturer as well as the age of your vehicle. Most older vehicles use IAT or inorganic additive technology. What sets IAT apart from the other two is the need to be changed on a routine basis. Because in inorganic additive technology, the chemicals will break down, causing the coolant not to work as effectively as it once did.

How To Choose The Right Coolant?

Now that you understand what coolant is, you are probably wondering how you are to select the right coolant for your vehicle. While it might seem complicated, there aren’t that many types to choose from, and your vehicle’s manufacturer will specify which you are to use. For example, BMW has its very own ‘BMW Coolant’ that is recommended for use in both its gasoline and diesel vehicles. BMW’s coolant is typically dark blue or green; versus the bright green or orange, most are used to seeing. In a pinch, off-brands, including Prestone Antifreeze/Coolant, can be used as a substitute if BMW coolant isn’t available.

While you can look online at what coolant and amount your vehicle calls explicitly for, your mechanic can also clue you in, as well as provide any coolant services your vehicle may need, such as a coolant flush.


Coolant leaks? No problem! Set up an appointment here or simply call us at (530) 305-2499. We, at Ryan GMW, are ASE certified, so you are guaranteed quality automotive services.

Getting Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready This Summer

Summer is still in full swing, which means there is plenty of time to hit the road and go out on an adventure. Using your own vehicle instead of renting is an excellent way to save money on your trip. But before you head out in the road, you may want to consider bringing in your vehicle to have it looked at. Having a BMW mechanic look over critical components of your car can help you to travel everywhere you need to go and everywhere in between. Car maintenance is key if you wish to have your last. The key services you should have done to ensure roadworthy performance include:

Oil Change

The oil change is essential for all engine function to run smoothly. Before long trips having an oil change done, especially if it is near servicing is ideal. While going over the mileage a little won’t necessarily hurt anything, a fresh oil change can help boost your MPG. Getting better fuel economy on long trips is great for saving a little bit of money at the pump. An oil change will also ensure that the fluid level is correct and where it should be.

A/C Check

Your vehicle’s air conditioning is vital. When temperatures reach over 100, driving in an unairconditioned car can feel more like torture than an exciting time waiting to reach your destination. An A/C check will inspect the freon, make sure the blower motor is working correctly. If your freon is low, the air conditioning will not blow as cold as it should. The elements of a car’s air conditioning system should only be handled by a professional. It can be very dangerous to try and fix issues with any pressurized system.

Coolant Services

Overheating is a common problem on long road trips. Having your upper and lower radiator hose inspected for signs of breakage or tears and making sure the coolant levels are correct will go a long way in keeping your engine cool on out of town road trips. A technician may also look over your radiator for any signs of damage that may lead to overheating. If you have had trouble with rising operating temperatures, have those addressed beforehand.

Tire Rotation/ Tire Replacement

Tires need to be in optimal condition for any drive you take. Older tires or those with worn out tread can potential blowout while driving. This is a very unsafe condition. Tire rotation will move the worn tires to the non-driving axle for better durability. However, if after a tire inspection you need to have a tire replaced, you should do so before hitting the road. A tire popping while out on the road will mean costly towing service and delays. Tire rotation is a simple service that should be done periodically and is part of most manufacturers recommended routine service.

Be sure that before you leave if your due for your routine scheduled maintenance to have it performed. This includes the 30k, 60k, and 90k services. If your air filter needs to be changed, it’s a good idea to have this done as well. It can improve fuel economy along with an oil change. Have your German car service done with the best at Ryan GMW.

Function Of A Radiator & Maintenance Tips

The engine’s cooling system is one of the essential features of a vehicle. The purpose of the cooling system is to keep an engine running at optimal temperatures. The radiator is responsible for cooling down the antifreeze/coolant that runs through a vehicle’s motor. If a radiator fails, it could result in engine failure. It is because the motor will overheat from the friction of the movable parts.

A radiator is made up of small fins and tubes that run through it. The coolant flows through the tubes, and the heat escapes through the fins. A radiator inspection can indicate if there is any damage to the exterior of the radiator or if there are any leaks.

The most common radiator problem experienced is leaking. Leaks can occur if there is any damage done to the fins or tubes of the radiator. Leaks can occur when you do not have enough fluid circulating through the system, which will lead to an engine overheating. If a radiator fails ultimately it won’t cool down the fluid and only will be recycling hot solutions through your engine block.

One sign your radiator might not be operating accurately is if your temp gauge keeps rising. Apparently, other problems could contribute to your engine’s temperature to continue rising such as a bad thermostat. But if the radiator is leaking or spraying fluid, it is a sure fire sign that it needs to be replaced. Radiator repair or replacement is vital to keep your engine’s cooling system working properly.

Is there anything you can do to prolong the life of your radiator? The first thing you can do is make sure your fluid levels are correct. The next is to consider having an engine coolant flush. A coolant flush will eliminate any debris that might be flowing through the cooling system. Sludge is also possible if oil gets mixed with coolant or if dirt gets into the system. If your vehicle is overheating or you notice a leak in the radiator, don’t wait to get it replaced. Ryan GMW can quickly restore your radiator or perform maintenance on your cooling system.

7 Radiator Tips You Need To Know

The radiator is one of the principal components of your car’s cooling system. A properly functioning heater will help maintain cooler temperatures that will help keep your engine’s temp in check. If the radiator fails, it will spell disaster for your motor, because it keeps the internal components at a proper operating temperature. So it is important to know what you should do to keep your radiator operating properly. Below are seven tips you need to know to help keep your vital component of your car’s cooling system running smoothly.

Check Your Coolant Levels

As with all the fluids in your wheels, the coolant level is one you should always have checked. Coolant levels are just as important as oil levels. If your vehicle doesn’t have enough coolant, it will struggle to keep your engine cool. It is because the cooling system is a pressurized one, and without proper amounts of fluid it won’t create the same amount of pressure. It is recommended that you should check your coolant the same time you check your oil.

Keep the Cap on Tightly

While it might seem rather simple, having your radiator cap securely tightened is one of the easiest tips to make sure is done. If for any reason you have to fill your coolant, make sure the cap is tightened and secure and is on properly. As mentioned it is a pressurized system, and if the cap isn’t secure, you will end up with coolant boiling over and onto everything in the engine bay. It is not only messy but if you run your vehicle after this has happened your car can potentially run hot. If this happens, you might do damage to the engine itself.

Never, Ever, is Open the Radiator Cap When Your Vehicle Hot

If your coolant level is low, or you get a message in your vehicle saying “low coolant,” you must fill your engine. But before filling it, let your engine temp cool off. You never want to open the radiator cap when it is hot. It can lead to injury. Not only is the coolant at extremely high temps but it also can potentially spray. One of the best things you can do if you are running low on coolant is to wait until overnight and fill the next day before the vehicle has been running.

Have an Annual Flush Done

An annual coolant flush is when your coolant is completely drained, then washed to clean out the system. After which, a fresh new coolant is put into your cooling system; it is an excellent idea for those with high mileage or that do lots of driving. It is recommended that you should at the very least have this service done annually.

Inspect Radiator For Leaks and Holes

If your coolant is running low, it could be possible that your radiator might have a leak or hole. If this problem is not corrected, you could lose most the coolant in your system and overheat the motor. If you notice drips under your vehicle or your radiator has coolant on it, it is probably time to replace the radiator.

Always use the Manufacturer’s Recommended Coolant and Quantity

Not all coolant is the same. When most people look at coolant, they will see that there is a significant difference between the types available. All vehicles are not the same. Always use what the manufacturer recommends and only filled with the quantity that is specified. Antifreeze is available in a 50/50 blend that is pre-diluted, and a regular that you will need to dilute yourself. Whichever you decide make sure that if you get the brand that needs to be diluted that you follow the directions. A 50/50 blend is the easier option because it is a simple fill with the amount you need with no need for additional mixing.

Never Mix Coolants

It is imperative never to mix coolants. If your system is running the orange Dexcool, don’t mix in the Green generic anti-freeze. They have a very different makeup. If you mix them, you could potentially cause the fluid in your cooling system to become almost gelatin like and junk up in the system. If you are unsure about what coolant you need, ask before filling it. The easiest way to avoid problems is not to mix colors.