Why should I get a fluid flush?
At A-1 Custom Car Care, we fully embrace and suggest have scheduled maintenance performed on your vehicle. Getting fluid flushes at regular service intervals not only makes your vehicle perform better, it also helps vital (and expensive) components in the transmission, brake, power steering, and cooling systems last longer. Preventing repairs and expensive breakdowns is one of the biggest services we can offer our customers. That goal can be accomplished by following manufacturer recommendations for fluid flushes on your vehicle!
What is the difference between a fluid flush and a fluid exchange?
Coolant flush, coolant exchange, transmission fluid flush, transmission fluid exchange; if you’ve ever been to a dealership or small time repair shop, you’ve heard BOTH of these terms used as though they mean the same thing. This is a common misconception in the automotive service world. In reality, a fluid flush is a complete service, often including specific procedures, additional chemicals and additives, and typically drive/break-in time performed at the shop – that is designed to combat active conditions inside an automotive system. Whereas a fluid exchange is exactly what it sounds like, merely the swapping of fluids – often involving refreshing of the fluids chemical protection package, but nothing more.
A great example would be comparing services on transmission fluid. A transmission fluid exchange will change out the fluid inside the transmission, and if done correctly, will include ALL of the transmission fluid in the vehicle (inside the transmission cooler & cooler lines, transmission pan, transmission fluid valve body, transmission torque converter, and transmission pump), but can sometimes only involve the fluid in the transmission pan. This type of service leaves contaminants, deposits, and build-up in the system, allowing the new fluid to break down even quicker than the old fluid did.
A transmission fluid flush, on the other hand, will involve checking the transmission fluid level prior to service and ensuring it is full; and a test drive to determine if a transmission flush SHOULD be performed, or if transmission repair is required due to physical symptoms. The next step is the addition of chemical packages designed specifically to break up and suspend internal buildup and contaminants in the old transmission fluid, reducing the amount of deposits and contaminants left after service. This will also require that the vehicle be driven and operated for a time, to circulate these chemicals throughout the entire system. Once the preliminary portion is complete, the vehicle can then be brought in for the transmission fluid flush portion. At this point, the vehicle will be operated at temperature (as many modern transmission systems have temperature controls which limit access to the full amount of fluid in the system) and attached to an exchange machine. You see, a transmission fluid exhange is a PART of a transmission fluid flush. During this process, the entire amount of transmission oil in the system is replaced with clean, new, transmission fluid, and allowed to circulate until ONLY clean fluid is exiting the system. At this point, if applicable, the transmission fluid filter can then be changed, as it should have captured any remaining contaminants that did not exit the transmission system with the old, dirty, transmission fluid. Then the system can be bled and/or topped off to proper fill level, and re-checked for proper operation. At this point, ANOTHER chemical package is usually added, to supplement the new transmission fluid, this additive package is specifically designed to prevent buildup and deposits – and is designed to lengthen the life of the fluid additives that are already in the transmission fluid.
Why do I need to perform Engine Coolant Flushes?
Over time antifreeze/coolant wears out, causing it to lose its protective qualities. This results in rust and corrosion throughout your engine cooling system, which may interrupt the proper flow of coolant. This also results in a loss of heat transfer in hot weather, increasing engine temperatures, and increasing the likelihood of your vehicle overheating and damaging expensive engine components. It can also result in a loss of freeze protection in the cold seasons, allowing ice to rupture expensive parts of your cooling system, or even, rupture metal parts of the engine! Your cooling system should be serviced at periodic intervals, typically every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, or once every two years – checks of the alkaline protection, heat protection, and freeze protection should be conducted before the change in seasons, each year. At A-1 Custom Car Care we provide cooling system flush and fill services for all makes and models.
Proper maintenance of the coolant for PH balance, prevents expensive damage to the water pump, heater core, radiator, thermostat, and other components that are in constant contact with your antifreeze/coolant. A regular antifreeze flush will keep the alkaline protection going inside your engine and cooling system. This PH protection is designed to keep the coolant/antifreeze within a certain PH range to prevent a corrosion from the coolant itself; as well as to slow down a process known as electrolysis, which happens due to the mix of metals that the coolant/antifreeze is connecting within your car.
Getting a regular coolant flush will also refresh the additives in the coolant/antifreeze that give it those two names! Coolant is designed to improve the heat transfer of water in the engine and radiator – by allowing the system to operate at higher temperatures and pressures before boiling. Like any other fluid in your vehicle, it is given special chemicals to be able to withstand this heat, and resist breakdown of the antifreeze itself, for longer periods of time. These special chemicals break down under the heat conditions they are regularly exposed to and do their job less and less over time. This allows the molecules of antifreeze to begin to break down as well. Deterioration of the antifreeze reduces the freeze protection the fluid offers. This can lead to ice forming during cold weather. The water mixed in with the antifreeze can freeze up, and when it does; it expands. This expansion does significant damage inside the cooling system, as it can burst open hoses, radiators, water pumps, engine oil coolers, heater cores, as well as engine blocks & cylinder heads.
Improper maintenance, and neglecting coolant flushes, leads to expensive repairs. In fact, cooling system problems account for the number one reason for on-road breakdowns. We have the particular tools and skills to properly flush the system, thus extending its life.
Transmission Fluid Flushes
Your car’s transmission system are made up of a large number of
shafts and gears that work together to make it move forward (or backward). In order to function properly, these gears must be kept well lubricated. Otherwise, the gears will slip and cause the transmission to ultimately fail. The cost of a new transmission can be up to $8,000, so it makes sense to get preventive maintenance for your car’s transmission to extend its life.
Transmission fluid ultimately breaks down over time. Metal shavings and other contaminants degrade the fluid and keep it from doing it’s job: to lubricate moving parts in the transmission free of friction. A complete flush and replacement of your car’s transmission fluid at periodic intervals will not only save you money, it also improves performance and avoids untimely breakdowns.
Brake Fluid Flushes
Many parts of the braking system are made of metal. Since brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts moisture over time, those major components are at risk of failure because of corrosion. In addition, as brake fluid ages and becomes contaminated, the braking performance deteriorates. Though this can happen slowly over time, a small amount of braking power can make the difference if you need to stop on a dime. Finally, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are particularly affected by moisture and contaminated fluid.
Poor brake performance is a safety issue. We typically recommend a brake fluid flush before it has a chance to damage expensive components and compromise your brake system.
Power Steering System Flushes
As with brake components, the power steering system is made up of hydraulic parts. The constant amount of steering and turning we do while driving ultimately causes the power steering fluid to build up with sludge and harmful deposits, Over time, the contaminated fluid will negatively effect the ability to turn easily. It also causes expensive parts like the rack & pinion to fail prematurely.
Experts disagree on how often to get a power steering system flush, but we recommend it every 45,000 to 60,000 miles.
Differential Fluid Exchanges
The differential and transmission work together to transfer power from the engine to the axle. The fluid in the differential lubricates the gears to keep them working properly. Over time, this fluid breaks down due to extreme temperatures and wear. Like other systems in the car, contaminated differential fluid performance impacts performance and will result in a premature failure of this part.
Differential fluid should be replaced according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. We can provide you with that information.
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A-1 Custom Car Care is locally owned and operates in Springfield MO and Republic MO. Our business model is based on the simple idea that we treat customers the same way we all want to be treated: with honesty, competence and respect.