The Royal Flush: Why it’s critical to clear your car’s system regularly
We all wish we were talking about the Kansas City Royals being World Series Champions again this year, but that wasn’t meant to be. Instead, we will focus on why ‘Royal flushes’ are important to your vehicle.
Your vehicle is a huge investment, and one that you want to make last as long as possible.
The easiest way to keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come is regular maintenance and diligent care. Part of this maintenance should include cleaning out your car’s systems, or ‘flushing’ them. There are many different types of system flushes that can help prevent roadside emergencies and expensive repairs.
Below are some of the most important flushes so we call them the ‘Royal Flushes’.
Coolant (or radiator) flush
Coolant is made up of a mixture of anti-freeze and water. It is the engine’s temperature-regulating system. Contaminated coolant or a lack of coolant is what causes your engine to overheat, a common roadside problem.
Autumn is a good time for a coolant flush so the vehicle is ready for Kansas winters. Coolant keeps the engine the right temperature in a brutal winter and in the heat of summer.
Coolant degrades over time and fills with debris. When this happens to your engine’s cooling system you’re at risk of damaging many cooling system components such as a radiator or water pump.
Regularly scheduled coolant flushes are important because they purge the system of buildup. A flush forces out all the old anti-freeze, along with everything the fluid has accumulated over the past year. In addition, new anti-freeze contains additives to protect your cooling system components against new buildup and contaminants.
Cooling system failure is cited as the leading cause of highway breakdowns.
Every vehicle should perform regular coolant flushes. Often times, in the warmer months, water is added to your cooling system. This does not pose a problem until it gets cold.
In winter, if too much water is present in the cooling system, the antifreeze/coolant will freeze when the temperature goes below freezing. This damages your vehicles cooling system.
A general rule of thumb is to flush the cooling system once a year and now is a prime time to complete this flush.
Power steering flush
As you continue to drive your car, its power steering system’s seals, O-rings and internal components will wear out. As they break down, the power steering fluid becomes contaminated with other materials, affecting your power steering function.
The good news is: power steering fluid is inexpensive and the system is easy to maintain.
Left unchecked, this type of contamination can wear away at your steering system’s metal mechanisms. And, if you ignore the issue long enough, and you could do serious harm to your power steering rack, which is much more expensive to replace than the regular fluid flush. During a power steering flush, the old fluid, along with sludge and waste is flushed out of the system replaced with premium power steering fluid.
Transmission fluid flush
Your transmission has many moving gears and mechanisms. In order for them to perform effectively, these moving parts require lubrication, which is provided by your transmission fluid. Additionally, transmission fluid helps keep the transmission from overheating. Servicing the fluid will help it from ‘burning’ due to extended use.
As transmission fluid cycles through the engine, it accumulates waste. It also thickens, forming a polluted sludge. This sludge can adhere to the transmission gears, causing shifting problems.
Contaminated transmission fluid can cause a wide range of problems. In addition to shifting problems, dirty fluid can create a grinding noise from the decreased lubrication.
Additional affects include a drop in hydraulic power and a delay in vehicle movement.
Your vehicle’s differential fluid lubricates the ring and pinion inside the differential housing.
The purpose of a differential is to transfer power from the vehicles driveshaft to the axle, allowing the wheels to turn. Front wheel drive vehicles’ differential is built into the transmission, so when you service the transmission, you are servicing the differential.
If you have a rear wheel drive vehicle, your vehicle has a rear differential.
If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, your vehicle has both a front and rear differential.
Changing the differential fluid is just as important as changing your vehicle’s oil, but just not as often. This fluid is needed for lubrication to prevent excessive gear wear which can result in a failure of the differential. If the differential fluid is ran too low or for too long without changing it, the seals can wear out.
A good rule of thumb is to service this fluid every 60,000 miles.
Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific service interval of all these fluids.
If you are not sure what your vehicle needs and when it needs it, we recommend that you speak with your trusted mechanic regarding flushing your vehicle’s critical systems.
The good news is that you don’t need to give your vehicle the ‘Royal Flush’ treatment, meaning flush all the systems at once. Instead, you can schedule the flushes according to your budget and condition of the fluids.
If you want to know more or discuss your vehicle’s maintenance, then give us a call at 913-422-1200.
— Scott and Tammie Green own Christian Brothers Automotive in Shawnee, 22240 Midland Drive.