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Car Maintenance >> Fall-Winter

Aug 22, 2007 - 10:38:00 PM - Print

Keep Your Cool with These Antifreeze Tips

(NewsUSA) - When traveling on the roads during the frigid winter months, a little preventive maintenance can go a long way toward keeping your vehicle in optimum working condition. One of the key components of a car's engine -; antifreeze -; can leave you out in the cold if not checked properly.

"Inspecting and maintaining your vehicle's cooling system takes just a few minutes of your time, but it is well worth it when you consider what could happen," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "Cooling system failure is the leading cause of engine-related breakdowns, which can cost thousands of dollars and leave you and your family stranded at the worst possible time."

Under your vehicle's hood, the cooling system is key -; it protects against damage by ensuring the engine operates within normal temperature range. Many busy drivers overlook the importance of checking coolant levels. In fact, more than 27 percent of vehicles checked during National Car Care Month had low levels of coolant. Further, 20 percent needed a coolant flush to protect against rust, dirt and mineral deposits.

The following tips from the Car Care Council will guarantee that your cooling system works effectively this winter:

* Properly check coolant levels. You will need a few basic service tools and an antifreeze ball tester, which is available at your local auto parts store.

* Start with a cold engine. Opening a hot radiator, coolant reservoir or overflow tank can cause severe burns.

* Add the correct mix ratio if low. If the antifreeze or coolant is low, add a 50/50 mix of approved antifreeze and distilled water. If you have changed your antifreeze recently, but levels are low, use the antifreeze ball tester to make sure the coolant-to-water ratio is correct.

* Don't forget the hoses. This is also a good time to check for and replace any leaking, brittle, spongy or cracked hoses. Also make sure the radiator hose clamps are tight to prevent leaks at the connections.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign, promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair. To obtain a free service interval schedule, visit www.carcare.org.







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