CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Engine coolant

My 2007 Acura owners manual does not mention draining, flushing and refilling the coolant. I don’t buy the $80 shop manuals, and haven’t found the $10 ones yet. Is Acura really saying that the “long lasting” anti-freeze corrosion inhibitor lasts forever like the new spark plugs? It has been 2 years now, and I am tempted to drain, flush and refill with ordinary 100% Prestone anong with 50% water like I have always done. What say you?

Ralph

You are correct that coolant does not last forever, and neither do spark plugs!

You would be well advised to drain and change the coolant every 3 years/36k miles.

As to the spark plugs, I would not leave them in place longer than 5 years/60k miles. Even if they are the very long-lasting iridium spark plugs, they can seize in their threaded holes and when someone attempts to change the plugs at 100k or…God forbid…at an even higher odometer mileage, damage to the engine could result from removing those seized plugs.

Incidentally, if Acura has also neglected to mention automatic transmission maintenance, you should have the trans fluid changed every 30k. Those who do not do this frequently wind up with transmission failure any time after 90k.

Is there a separate maintenance schedule that came with the owner’s manual? Have you found replacement intervals for other things, such as the timing belt, transmission fluid, and brake fluid?

Nothing about engine coolant? Nothing about spark plugs (no, they don’t last forever)?

You could drain and refill with the good old green stuff, but you may void any remaining warranty if you do. I’d wait at least until the warranty expires. Two years is a little too soon for this.

The $80 shop manuals (mine was more than that) are worth their weight in gold if you plan to keep the car for more than a few years.

My Honda Civic specifies non-silicate coolant. If your car requires the same I think regular Prestone would void the warranty. I buy mine pre-mixed from the dealer every couple of years. It’s cheap compared to other maintenance, although not a bargain either.

Amazon.com shows a Haynes manual for the Acura through 2008, just FYI.

Those $10 shop manuals are selling for $20 now. The prices have increased over the years.

Is your 2007 Acura still covered by the factory warranty? If so, you need to use the coolant suggested by the manufacturer, and you need to find out how long they think you should go between coolant changes. You can change it more often than Acura suggests. That won’t affect your warranty. However, using a different type of coolant could void your warranty.

I found my 2004 Ford Taurus Workshop Manual (used, but in good condition) online at eBay for $20. Thousands of pages of automotive goodness!

Long life coolant I’d change every 4 years, along with the thermostat.

Plugs I’d inspect every 36K miles, along with a change of ATF.

mcparadise,

Some of the items are given replacement frequencies. The coolant, however, is left to “the computer will tell you when” status. Do you suppose there is a pH sensor in there? If so, I wouldn’t expect the sensor itself to be accurate for more than 2 years. One of the tire pressure sensors started reading 2 psi low after 1 year.

Ralph

Bad idea to use Prestone.
05 Honda Accord V6 owners manual: Replace engine coolant at 120,000 miles OR 10 years, then every 60k or 5 years. Use only Honda premixed coolant while in warranty. Honda premixed is the only coolant I will use.

I would do the 60k/5 years from the get go.

If you want to replace the coolant every two years that’s fine. I think it’s too often, but it’s not my car.

I would use ONLY the recommended coolant in this car. My Acura still uses the old, green coolant, but your car is different.

The computer doesn’t monitor pH, it monitors things like engine coolant temperature, ambient air temperature, number of cold starts, number of hot starts, how hard you step on the gas, how hard you step on the brake pedal, how many miles the car is driven, whether it is driven short trips or on the highway, etc, etc, etc, and then it calculates coolant life.

Same thing for the oil change monitor, if your car has one.

I’d be tempted to change coolant when the computer says so. Or every 5 years/ 60K miles. But every two years? Nah.

So they really are saying the coolant lasts as long as the spark plugs do now. I’m amazed. I used to change them both every 2 years just for the heck of it.
Ralph