What Happens to a Car Without Coolant?

What Happens to a Car Without Coolant?

Your coolant is arguably the single most important fluid you’ll find under the hood of your car, and for a good reason: without it, your engine wouldn’t make it more than just a few minutes without suffering a catastrophic breakdown, even including irreparable damage.

What coolant does

Engines are remarkable machines, when you think about it. The metal shell that surrounds each piston is there to contain a small explosion every few seconds, leading to thousands of explosions in total every minute. As you might expect, thousands of explosions create a ton of heat, and that heat over time can cause pretty significant wear and tear on the metal in your engine. This is the job of your cooling system, and is primarily performed by a blend of water and antifreeze (also known as “coolant”). The cooling system utilizes coolant to dissipate heat created by the combustion engine to help keep your engine at a safe operating temperature.

What can happen if you don’t have enough coolant in your vehicle?

The answer: nothing good. Coolant circulates through your car and extracts heat from various components, keeping their operating temperature within normal parameters. Without coolant, there’s nothing to extract this heat, and these parts quickly overheat and break down.

Three common things will happen when you run an engine without coolant or without enough coolant:

  • Damage to engine components: If the engine overheats, particularly on older vehicles which don’t have features to alert the driver, then the engine itself could sustain serious damage, including the possibility of permanent, irreparable damage.
  • Dashboard lights & warnings: First your engine’s temperature gauge will shoot upward, indicating there is an issue. You may also receive a warning from your car’s central computer notifying you that there’s a problem with your cooling system and that you’re on the verge of overheating.
  • Engine cutoff: On newer vehicles, the central computer monitors the engine’s temperature and can shut the engine off automatically to prevent catastrophic damage to the engine. It also disconnects the ignition from the engine while it cools down so you won’t be able to turn it on again until it’s cooled off.

How Christian Brothers Automotive Can Help

Since coolant does not last the entire lifetime of a vehicle, the fluid levels and quality of the fluid need to be checked regularly. While some manufacturers recommend full service every 3 to 5 years, our expert technicians encourage a coolant flush every 30,000 miles to keep your engine working efficiently. If you have any concerns that your coolant level is low, or if you don’t remember when your vehicle last had a coolant flush, we highly encourage you to get your vehicle serviced right away.

At Christian Brothers Automotive, we want to change the way you think about car care, and we pride ourselves on offering the best customer service you’ll find anywhere in the auto repair industry.

For a car repair experience that’s clean, courteous and caring, choose your neighborhood Christian Brothers Automotive. To find a location near you, search our interactive map here: https://www.cbac.com/locations/

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