Cooling System Issues

Industry experts estimate that about 40 percent of engine downtime is caused by cooling system problems. Understanding the common problems and implementing proven preventative maintenance practices significantly reduces operating costs.  There are four...

Basically, the primary purpose of a coolant flushing machine is to remove old, spent coolant from a vehicle’s cooling system, clean out the radiator and coolant system of debris and rust and replenish the system with new coolant, says Jim O’Hara, vice president of marketing at Clore Automotive, a manufacturer of automotive service equipment.

These functions are achieved by draining the old coolant, introducing and circulating a cleaning solution throughout the coolant system, evacuating that solution along with the contaminants it absorbed and adding new coolant into the system, explains Chris Rogers, a marketing official with Qwik Draw, a provider of automotive fluid exchange equipment.

This mechanical flush is a more complete service, O’Hara notes. Significantly more of the old coolant is removed and replaced than if a traditional drain and fill were performed. Because most coolant flushing machines utilize pressure to agitate the system, a greater amount of contamination and debris is removed from the system than with a traditional service.

If coolant exchange is done routinely, the rust and scaling inhibitors of the coolant have not deteriorated beyond their useful life and the coolant system is still clean, says Rogers. Plus, more readily recyclable used coolant is extracted.

Coolant flushing and coolant exchange machines can provide a number of benefits to maintenance operations, says Gary Hutchison, vice president, sales and marketing, for Symtech Corporation, a manufacturer of automotive equipment. Among them: faster servicing with reduced vehicle downtime than traditional methods; more efficient draining, contaminant removal and coolant replenishment; and avoiding coolant spills.


When looking to acquire coolant flushing and fluid exchange machines, there are a number of factors to analyze. The starting point is to make certain the machine will meet the shop’s specific service needs. Here is some additional advice.

- Clore Automotive’s O’Hara says things to consider are:

+ Simple equipment operation.  

+ Easy conversion between different styles of coolant. 

+ Variable exchange speed control.

+ Ease of connection and verifying fittings and adapters complete enough to service the specific vehicles the shop will encounter.

+ Power required to operate the machine.

+ Level of after-sale service and support and training assistance.

+ Warranty coverage and term. 

- Qwik Draw’s Rogers says key factors are:

+ Longevity of the manufacturer and its reputation.

+ Equipment that uses both vacuum and pressure. (“This results in faster and more complete exchange of fluid.”)

+ Safety, ease of use and speed of the equipment.

- Symtech Corporation’s Hutchison suggests keeping in mind:

+ Quality of the equipment.

+ Service features that technicians recognize as benefits and make their job easier.

+ Can the equipment perform multiple services?

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