AUTO: Is Changing Your Anti-Freeze Necessary?

Dear Motor Medics,
I have a question about antifreeze. I have not owned a car more than 7 years until now and I would like to know if I need to do something with my coolant. The shop I have gone to for the past two years has been trying to get me to flush the system but they are not really giving me a reason other than it’s time due to miles and age. I did have it checked to make sure it won’t freeze up in the winter and it looks clean so why would I need to change it?
Thank you, Devon in Larchwood Iowa.

Dear Devon,
we are so glad you asked this question because many people are unaware of how to take care of their cooling systems and that can lead to very expensive repairs. The antifreeze serves several purposes. It is there to prevent freeze-up, boil-over, and to assist in the prevention of extremely damaging rust and corrosion in the cooling system. Even though coolant looks good and passes a freeze test it may fail a PH test. If the coolant does not have the proper PH rust and corrosion can damage gaskets, the radiator, and heater core, or scale can form in the passages. Test strips used during yearly checkups at a shop will verify the PH and need for changing which usually falls somewhere in the two to five year range. Changing it can save you money.
Take care, the Motor Medics

Dear Motor Medics,
I’m ready to buy a new car and I could do it at any time, I’m kind of an impulse buyer. My car is about 8 years old and needs a little work and I have the cash so I may stop by a lot and just buy something that catches my eye. I will likely look for something in the two-year-old or so range with 50k miles or a little more to keep the cost down which probably means no warranty. Since I usually buy on impulse, I’m not likely to get a pre-purchase inspection done and I know you guys strongly suggest one. What can I do to make sure I get a good car?
Thank you, Tanner in Garretson, South Dakota.

Dear Tanner,
without the inspection you have no guaranty as to what you are buying. While no inspection can guaranty a trouble-free car, it can eliminate many commonly found money robbing issues that consumers could possibly get stuck with when buying a used car. I would suggest that if you don’t get the inspection try to buy from a reputable lot that may offer at least a short-term warranty or sale contingent on a passing inspection. Also look for lots offering pre inspected cars. Many of the credible lots do an outstanding job of pre-inspecting vehicles to keep their customer satisfaction high and will be able to tell you what they have checked over.
Take care, the Motor Medics

Listen to the Under the Hood car care call-in radio show every Saturday at 10AM on WTYM AM 1380 & FM 103.7.