More than half of heavy-duty engine failures are due to improper maintenance. The coolant system is responsible for removing approximately 30% of combustion heat of heavy-duty engines, while more than 53% of premature engine failures are due to improper maintenance, says Paul Bandoly, fleet manager Wix Filters. Proper understanding of coolant types and adherence to vehicle manufacturers’ requirements are essential to ensuring that antifreeze effectively maintains engine temperature and helps protect the cooling system from rust and corrosion, he added. The company has developed 10 coolant maintenance tips:
- Start clean and keep it clean: Make sure the entire system is clean—inside and out. Replace corroded and damaged components and use appropriate flush. Balanced coolant prevents—but does not fix—problems.
- Use deionized or distilled water: Never use sodium “softened” water.
- Use quality EG or PG: It is important to know the chemistry of your coolant; pay attention to whether you are using traditional IAT coolant or
organic acid technology.
- Select the proper supplemental coolant additives: If you are using IAT, there are three ways to protect traditional coolant with supplemental coolant additives—standard service intervals, slow release and extended service interval.
- Ensure proper balance: In order to effectively maintain engine temperature, coolant must be correctly diluted—usually in a 50/50 mixture with acceptable water.
- Practice proper top-off: Do not overdo your coolant by topping it off with water or coolant. You must use the correct 50/50 mixture.
- Diagnose after use: The coolant filter catches dirt, debris, chemical precipitation and other contaminates—all things you can see. Review the filter closely after removal to determine whether debris or other contaminates are penetrating the filter and entering the coolant system.
- Replace coolant when it’s time: Adhere to your vehicle’s change intervals. Also refer to the vehicle manufacturers and the coolant manufacturer’s recommendations. Coolant manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed especially if you have replaced the original equipment manufacturer’s coolant or specified something other than original equipment manufacturer’s default. As a result, replace your coolant when recommended by the coolant manufacturer.
- Test, inspect and detect: Coolant should be tested regularly to check its freeze protection capabilities. Use coolant test strips or refractometers to determine the concentration ratio of coolant to water.
- Practice proper handling and storage: Handle and store your coolant in a clean, temperature-controlled environment.