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WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CAR FREEZES THIS WINTER

When temperatures drop, all sorts of problems can befall your car, from a flat battery to reduced tire pressures. One of the most serious mechanical faults that can occur during the winter, however, is a frozen engine. The right coolant/antifreeze is of vital importance as it keeps the engine cool without freezing in winter.

If you use water rather than good quality coolant/antifreeze in your car’s cooling system, it will freeze causing huge internal pressures (something the AA says is liable to cause severe engine damage).

If you suspect your car’s cooling system might be frozen, there are several signs and symptoms to look out for, as well as several dos and don’ts to help you avoid inflicting pricey engine damage on your beloved motor.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

It’s a bitter winter’s morning; you’ve scraped the ice from the windscreen and switched on the ignition, only to be met with a relentless squealing noise from beneath the bonnet.

This suggests your car’s water pump has frozen, and this noise is the sound of the fan belt skidding on the pulley. It may be that the cylinder block (a component that’s altogether pricier to put right should any damage occur) has frozen too.

Alternatively, if you switch on your car and start driving, only to find the engine begins to overheat, this could also be a tell tale sign that the cooling system has frozen.

Car engines require a constant flow of coolant/antifreeze to keep them at their optimum working temperature, even on the coldest winter mornings. If the engine overheats, this could indicate that the radiator has frozen and coolant/antifreeze isn’t circulating as it should.

Experience any of the above symptoms and it’s vital you switch off the ignition as quickly as possible (pulling over to do so if you’ve traveled beyond your driveway). Whatever you do, don’t drive the car any further as this could result in costly damage to your engine.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

If your car’s cooling system has frozen, what should you do next? To avoid causing damage, follow these simple steps.

1) Don’t run the car
It’s a reasonable idea: switch the car on and the engine will gradually warm up, loosening up the cooling system and helping to get the fluids moving again.

But, without a steady flow of coolant/antifreeze, the engine will quickly begin to overheat, and could even explode as a result of the mounting pressure caused by blockages in the cooling system.

2) Allow time to thaw
In most cases of frozen cooling systems, the best thing to do is give the entire engine time to thaw. If parked outside in cold conditions, a frozen engine can take days to thaw properly, unless it can be safely moved to a garage or other sheltered location.

To speed up the thawing process, it is possible to use a fan heater placed in front of the radiator. When pointed directly at the car, the heat generated should help to melt the frozen fluid more quickly. What’s important, however, is to not drive the car until you’re confident the cooling system has completely thawed through.

Once the vehicle has completely thawed out it is important to drain and flush the entire cooling system and replace the fluid with a good quality coolant/antifreeze, offering the right level of protection, no matter what the weather.

3) Check your coolant/antifreeze levels before winter arrives
Aside from allowing the system adequate time to thaw, there’s little else you can do in the event of a frozen cooling system. Winter driving experts, Prestone, recommend checking the strength of your car’s coolant/antifreeze before the cold climes of winter arrive.

They said: “We recommend using a 50:50 mix of ethylene glycol based coolant/antifreeze in the cooling system during the winter, a solution that will protect your car no matter what the weather and all year round.”

“If you aren’t sure of the exact ratio of your cooling fluid, take the car to your local garage and they’ll be able to check the strength for you.”

Six Ways You Could be Killing Your Car

Owning a car can be a dream or a nightmare depending on how well you take care of your vehicle, says the non-profit Car Care Council. The following are six things that many motorists do that can harm their car and their wallet.6waysyouarekillingyourcar

  1. Ignoring the check engine light. Ignoring an illuminated check engine light can result in serious engine trouble and costly repairs. At the very least, this warning light could alert you to an engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy.
  1. Failing to change fluids and filters.Many fluids are required for the operation and protection of vehicle systems and components. Checking fluid levels regularly, along with the filters, helps ensure that your vehicle runs dependably and extends vehicle life.
  1. Neglecting your tires. Your vehicle’s tires should be checked frequently for inflation and tread depth. Underinflated tires can wear out more quickly, needing to be replaced sooner, and can negatively impact safety, gas mileage and performance.
  1. Not following a service schedule. Because many car parts and components wear out or become damaged over time, vehicles need to be routinely serviced in order to perform optimally. Routine inspections and timely repairs will help keep your car running efficiently and will help you avoid more expensive repairs down the road.
  1. Keeping a dirty car. Allowing your car to go too long without a wash leads to buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt, increases the potential for rust from road salt and interferes with proper visibility needed for safe driving.
  1. Being a severe driver. Whether it’s stop-and-go traffic, extreme weather, rough roads or heavy loads, it can sometimes be difficult to limit severe driving conditions. However, you can drive smart and improve fuel economy by observing the speed limit; avoiding aggressive driving, including quick starts and stops; not hauling unnecessary items; and keeping your vehicle properly tuned.

“Because auto care isn’t always a top priority for car owners, they might not realize they are doing things that adversely affect the performance, safety and value of their car,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Routine maintenance can go a long way toward saving money, avoiding headaches and protecting your vehicle investment.”

 

 

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We are MainStreet Transmissions and Auto Repair.  We believe in providing quality service at an affordable price.  We are a family owned and operated business and have been in Palmetto for 10 years.  We are members of the community and also live in the community we service.  We stand behind our service...our reputation is important to us and we strive to keep our customers happy.