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.

Fluid Inspections: Crucial For Car Maintenance

With so many components on vehicles, it can be hard to determine which things to be on the lookout for, and which are the most important. One thing is for sure, the longevity of your car is entirely dependent on fluids. Your BMW, Audi, Mini, or Porsche will have fluids including coolant, engine oil, brake fluid, washer fluid, and transmission fluid depending on the type of transmission you have. For some specific models that sport the all-wheel-drive system, you may also have to service the front or rear differential fluids.

When in doubt about your fluid levels, you can always take it to a BMW Auto Repair Near Me, like Ryan G. Motorworks for a fluid inspection. Our technicians can quickly assess if you are in need of a top off, are over or under fluids. Having the correct amount for each system of your car will allow it to work as it should. But what happens if you run low on your fluids? Will it immediately do damage? How bad can it be? Check out the main fluids your car needs to run, and what can happen if they aren’t inspected, filled, or changed when needed.

Engine Oil

The heart of your high-end German vehicle is the engine. There is never a time running it without oil is okay. Engine oils main function is to provide lubrication for the metal parts inside the motor. The pistons, rings, valves, rockers, and other components are entirely dependent on oil. If you aren’t running enough oil, or it is completely dry, the motor can lock up. Once this happens, it is fair enough to say the engine is toast. The cost for replacing an engine in a newer BMW, Audi, Mini Cooper can be costly, and can in most cases, be avoided with proper maintenance and fluid inspections.

Periodic oil changes help reduce the chances of running your vehicle with no oil, as well as having a fluid inspection done between oil changes. It is also crucial that when adding or doing an oil change that the right fluid is used. Different weight oils are used depending on the engine type and climate, but almost all newer vehicles call for full synthetic. When taking your car in for German Auto Repair or inspections, they will know precisely how many quarts of what type of oil needs to be used.

Brake Fluid

How much do you value being able to stop your BMW? The braking system of most cars is ultimately dependant on brake fluid. Most vehicles have upgraded to using DOT 4 in their master cylinders and are found in vehicles with ESP and ABS systems, which most German models come standard. A technician, during a fluid inspection, will make sure there aren’t any leaks, and that fluid comes up to the line indicating full. Most higher end German vehicles use 4 wheel disc brake systems that provide unbelievably excellent stopping power, with the proper fluid levels they are able to operate as intended.

Transmission Fluid

Automatic transmission needs transmission fluid. Your transmission uses the fluid within to signal at which point it needs to shift gears. With a manual transmission, you tell the transmission when to shift. This doesn’t mean that a manual doesn’t require any fluid, it just doesn’t use ATF, it could use engine oil, grease, or different liquids depending on the manufacturer. Keeping the transmission lubricated is essential but not as critical as having the correct amount of fluid in it. Failure to maintain the proper levels of fluid can cause the automatic transmission to slip. You will try to accelerate and feel that it revs high, won’t increase speed, and takes a second to change gear. Transmission fluid should be checked regularly, just as you would with engine oil. Those are the most expensive components to replace on any vehicle, and it’s well worth the ten minutes to have a fluid inspection done to ensure they are all at the proper levels.

Coolant

Antifreeze or engine coolant is needed to reduce the temperature of your car. Each vehicle make and model has a specified operating temperature that is required for optimal performance and considered safe. When there is a leak in the coolant system, you may find that your car can or will overheat. Allowing your car to run “hot” will almost always ensure the catastrophic failure of the cylinder head or damage to the engine block. During a fluid inspection, a technician will check that coolant is at the proper level and that there is antifreeze in the reservoir tank, if applicable.

Basic Car Maintenance Everyone Should Know

Most people use their car every day without a second thought. They will get in, turn the key, and head out on their way. It’s almost always the case, unless you are a car person, that you don’t think something is in need of repair till a light shines or a weird noise starts to occur. Afterall keeping up with a vehicle requires some amount of attention. But what if you could minimize the likelihood of an expensive repair, by doing only simple maintenance items? In this post, we will look at simple car maintenance items you can do that will potentially save you from experiencing a catastrophic event or costly BMW car repair.

CHECK TIRES

Tires are the essential features of your vehicle. They are what makes contact with the ground. Having good tires versus a bad one can make a huge difference. Have you ever experienced a tire blow out, or know someone that has? At high speeds having a tire, blow can be incredibly dangerous. It can also do much more damages than just having a flat tire. Almost all tire blowouts can be avoided by simply checking your tires periodically, and having them replaced when needed.

A good rule of thumb is to inspect your tires every month for wear, tread, and that they are correctly inflated. The tire sidewall will tell you the max psi they should be filled to. Overinflating can be just as bad as under, so it is best to stay a little below the max. Check for signs damage to the tires as well; if anything looks suspicious, you can take it to our German auto repair shop.

CHECK THE OIL

There is no way of avoiding the topic of engine oil when talking about the maintenance of a vehicle. It is the fluid that keeps everything in your engine working the way it should. Oil reduces friction of the metal movable parts within, and it an absolute must. Checking the oil isn’t as tricky as it sounds. Most vehicles are equipped with dipsticks that are labeled check oil on them. In fact, the dipstick will also have at the end clues as to if you are low on oil, clearly marked, low. If there is one maintenance item you should routinely do, and be in the habit of doing is checking the oil levels. If you find that your car is consistently low on oil, it could signal a leak or possibly other issues within the motor.

CHECK COOLANT LEVELS

Lastly, make sure to maintain adequate coolant in your vehicle’s cooling system. Each car requires a different type of coolant. BMW recommends the use of their own specially formulated coolant for their vehicles to run at their best. TIP: Use caution when checking your coolant levels. Never try to open the radiator cap if your car has been running and reached it’s operating temperature. In doing so can cause injury. The coolant is a pressurized system. When it is hot, pressure builds, the second you turn the cap it will spray out. At close to 200 degrees, this is something you don’t want touching your skin. Instead, wait until your car has had time cool down or even better let it rest overnight and check before starting it in the morning.

Conclusion

Maintaining a good running vehicle is as simple as checking its primary components. These simple car tasks only take a few minutes and are well worth the time. Many repairs, breakdowns, or troubles can be avoided with proper care.