Cooling System Service in Ukiah

Cooling System Repairs at West Coast Muffler & Auto Repair in Ukiah, CA

We all know how important the cooling system is: coolant/antifreeze circulates around the engine, absorbs heat, and then dissipates it in the radiator. Cooling system failure can cause extensive engine damage. There are a couple of fine points that may be useful to you.

One is about minor coolant leaks. It’s tempting to put off repairing small cooling system leaks – we just keep topping off the coolant. There are several problems with this. First, coolant is messy. It doesn’t just evaporate away. The puddle is harmful to the environment and is toxic to pets. Second, the cooling system needs to maintain a certain pressure to do its job. A leak compromises the pressure. Third, small leaks can unexpectedly become big leaks that leave you stranded. Fourth, you need to keep the correct balance of coolant/antifreeze and distilled water to maintain proper boil and freeze properties.

Another point is corrosion protection. Antifreeze/coolant contains a package of anti-corrosion additives. These additives coat internal surfaces throughout the entire cooling system. They protect against oxidation which can lead to leaks as well as scale that clogs cooling system components.

The protective coating is constantly reacting to chemical compounds created by the extreme heating and cooling cycle the coolant goes through. Over time, the coating is depleted and there is nothing left to protect the exposed metal in the engine and other system parts.

This is why your vehicle manufacturer recommends your coolant/antifreeze be changed periodically. Even though your old coolant may be cooling your engine just fine, it leaves it exposed to corrosive elements that will damage the system. A best practice is to also have a coolant exchange performed when replacing a cooling system component. For example, when you put in a new water pump it is not coated with anti-corrosion additives. If your anti-corrosion package is already depleted, the new water pump will immediately be subject to corrosive elements that will quickly start to reduce its life cycle. If you change the coolant when the new water pump is installed, it will be protected the first time you start the engine.

When we do a coolant exchange at West Coast Muffler & Auto Repair, we try to remove as much of the old coolant and accumulated sediment from the system as possible. We also give your cooling system a thorough inspection. Ask us if it’s time for a cooling system service. And if you suspect a leak let’s get that repaired right away.

Cooling System Service At West Coast Muffler & Auto Repair

Last week I was out running errands in Ukiah and my temperature warning light came on – total panic! I pulled over and my car was overheating.

After it cooled down, I went right in to my Ukiah service center to have them take a look. My friendly and knowledgeable service advisor told me my water pump was leaking and needed to be replaced. He said water pumps just wear out and that you need to replace them because they pump the coolant that cools the engine.

He told me they checked out my radiator hoses, serpentine belt and tensioner and that they were OK. But I was overdue for changing my coolant – like, embarrassingly overdue. I didn't realize there was a schedule in my vehicle owner's manual for when to change my coolant.

My Ukiah service advisor said that the coolant actually becomes corrosive over time and could damage my radiator, head gaskets, intake manifold gaskets, heater core, metal cooling pipes, expansion (frost) plugs, etc. That's why they recommend changing the fluid on schedule.

So, we replaced the coolant with the kind my vehicle manufacturer recommends – I learned there are different kinds of coolant and you need to use the right one – and I was on my way. It feels good knowing my vehicle cooling system is healthy and I don't need to worry about it.

Cooling System Service in Ukiah, CA

We're often asked questions about the cooling system – the system that cools your engine and keeps it at the proper operating temperature. Let's examine the topic in two areas: first the coolant itself and, second, the parts that make up the cooling system.

The coolant is the mix of water and antifreeze that circulates through the engine to draw off heat. First, you need to have the proper amount. If you don't have enough coolant it can't keep your engine cool.

You also need the right kind of coolant. Different makes of vehicles require different coolant formulation to protect against corrosion.

Finally, your coolant needs to be fresh. Over time and miles, the anti-corrosion additives in the coolant are depleted and the coolant can actually start to eat away at the cooling system parts. Your owner's manual and your service adviser can help you with the recommended coolant replacement schedule and make sure you're getting the right type of coolant.

Now let's talk about the cooling system components. These will all eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Starting with the radiator, we see them coming into the shop with leaks or clogged with deposits. Depending on the damage, we will clean, repair or replace. We also see radiator pressure caps that can no longer hold the proper pressure. We recommend replacing pressure caps when you change your coolant to avoid this problem. We see leaky water pumps and hoses that need to be replaced. There's also a part called the thermostat that opens and closes to regulate the flow of coolant. Sometimes they stick open or closed and the cooling system won't work properly.

Engine damage from overheating can be very expensive to fix so it's important to maintain your cooling system properly with scheduled coolant replacement and periodic inspections of the cooling system. Certainly come in if you suspect a leak and have us take a look.

Extend The Life Of Your Cooling System In Ukiah, CA

Our vehicles operate in a wide range of outside Calpella temperatures. That’s why car makers use testing grounds from the frozen tundra to the blistering desert. Your SUV engine antifreeze/coolant must be able to perform in these extreme temperatures.

Antifreeze/coolant has to move heat away from the engine to prevent costly damage. Water does a very good job of holding heat, but it freezes at thirty two degrees.

That’s why we mix anti-freeze with water – it lowers the freezing point of the antifreeze/coolant, and raises the boiling point as well. A fifty/fifty blend of water and antifreeze/coolant is the usual recommendation for CA car owners.

And on top of that, antifreeze/coolant has to protect the components of the SUV cooling system from corrosion. Your auto makers owners’ manual will tell you what kind of antifreeze/coolant you should use. Of course, at West Coast Muffler & Auto Repair, we can advise you on what to put in your SUV.

Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical problem Ukiah auto owners have. Much of that can be avoided by following factory scheduled service intervals. Check your SUV owner’s manual or with your West Coast Muffler & Auto Repair service advisor for recommendations. He can also conduct a cooling system inspection to look for leaks, weak hoses or bad connections.

At West Coast Muffler & Auto Repair in Ukiah CA (95482) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at (707) 462-6920. To learn more about NAPA AutoCare, visit

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