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What Happened to Auto Coolants?
Old 06-10-2012, 07:26 PM   #1
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What Happened to Auto Coolants?

In the old days, I was used to replacing them every 2 yrs or so.
I did that initially w/ our 2004 Camry and then kind of got the idea that
was too frequent and today suddenly realized that owner's manual says
initial change is suggested for 10yrs (and about 100K mi).

What happened? Did coolants get that much better? or engines are different? or?
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:22 PM   #2
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I just got my oil changed yesterday, and they always test it and check it off as saying its fine. I have owned the car almost 10 years and its a 12 year old car with 175000 miles on it. I have never changed it. Come to think of it, oil changes and air filters are the only maintenance I have ever done to it. With all the money I have saved on maintenance, I have plenty of money for a rebuilt transmission. It seems like my previous older cars would frequently have leaks in the radiator or the hoses though.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:26 PM   #3
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I just had the coolant system flushed and refilled for the second time on my 2006 Camry. It is a 4 cyl with 205,000 miles on it. I am starting on my second replacement set of spark plugs but I am on my original set of brake pads.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:31 PM   #4
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Today's vehicles are built to need much less routine maintenance than in the past. Yeah, you still need an oil change every 5,000-7,500 miles in most cases (maybe as little at 3K in harsh conditions, but most people don't need oil changes every 3K), but things like fluid flushes and replacements and tuneups are often not needed as frequently as in the past. My car is still on its original brakes with 62,000 miles and the folks who did the last oil change says it still has at least half of their life remaining.

It seems odd, since you'd think the dealers would want cars that needed more servicing (and more revenues from service). But I suspect the automakers know that reliability and low maintenance needs sells vehicles and influences the decisions of the public.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:56 PM   #5
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I just had the coolant system flushed and refilled for the second time on my 2006 Camry. It is a 4 cyl with 205,000 miles on it. I am starting on my second replacement set of spark plugs but I am on my original set of brake pads.
Wow...that's a lot of miles on a 6-year old car (~100/day). You must either have a long commute or do a lot of highway trips, especially as you don't seem to need to brake much.

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Old 06-10-2012, 10:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by gsparks2 View Post
I just had the coolant system flushed and refilled for the second time on my 2006 Camry. It is a 4 cyl with 205,000 miles on it. I am starting on my second replacement set of spark plugs but I am on my original set of brake pads.
With that much mileage on an 06 your brakes should last a long time. Seems you don't have time to brake much.
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:06 PM   #7
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I had a 52 mile commute each way from Jan 2006 until July 2011 when the magic happened. I was putting 33k-35k per year on it. Much less these days.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
In the old days, I was used to replacing them every 2 yrs or so.
I did that initially w/ our 2004 Camry and then kind of got the idea that
was too frequent and today suddenly realized that owner's manual says
initial change is suggested for 10yrs (and about 100K mi).
What happened? Did coolants get that much better? or engines are different? or?
Toyota's developed a special (high-priced) long-lived coolant. You're not even supposed to top off the overflow tank with water for fear of contaminating or diluting the stuff. It's expected to last 100K miles.

Priuses have problems with coolant pumps for their inverters (factory recall) and the cooling lines have to be vented/bled after replacing the pump. So I've learned not to mess with the radiator or the coolant and to just have the dealer (or any Toyota-certified mechanic) check it when the car's in for any other reason.

I don't know about other Toyotas, but Priuses have spark plugs that are also expected to last 100K-125K miles. Their regenerative braking systems also mean that the mechanical brake shoes are expected to last for ~100K miles, even with a teen behind the wheel.

60K miles on one, 50K on the other, so far so good...
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:05 AM   #9
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Toyota's developed a special (high-priced) long-lived coolant. You're not even supposed to top off the overflow tank with water for fear of contaminating or diluting the stuff. It's expected to last 100K miles.

Priuses have problems with coolant pumps for their inverters (factory recall) and the cooling lines have to be vented/bled after replacing the pump. So I've learned not to mess with the radiator or the coolant and to just have the dealer (or any Toyota-certified mechanic) check it when the car's in for any other reason.

I don't know about other Toyotas, but Priuses have spark plugs that are also expected to last 100K-125K miles. Their regenerative braking systems also mean that the mechanical brake shoes are expected to last for ~100K miles, even with a teen behind the wheel.

60K miles on one, 50K on the other, so far so good...
Wow. I was just thinking about checking on whether I need a coolant change (my Lexus) and whether I should tell DD to check on hers (Corolla). I knew we didn't need to deal with it so often but I didn't realize coolant basically lasts forever. Same with the spark plugs - 100K? Fantastic. Once they come up with a miracle oil I'm done with maintenance forever.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:15 AM   #10
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With that much mileage on an 06 your brakes should last a long time. Seems you don't have time to brake much.
Sounds like highway driving in light traffic on flat terrain to me.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:19 AM   #11
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I was shocked when I learned that my 2009 Nissan Versa does not need new spark plugs until 105,000 miles. You have to remove the intake manifold to change them, though! About $100 labor. And the plugs themselves are pretty expensive. Manual says to do first coolant change at 60,000 and every 30,000 thereafter.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:01 AM   #12
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I was shocked when I learned that my 2009 Nissan Versa does not need new spark plugs until 105,000 miles. You have to remove the intake manifold to change them, though! About $100 labor. And the plugs themselves are pretty expensive. Manual says to do first coolant change at 60,000 and every 30,000 thereafter.

When I had my 69 GTX Hemi car I had to take out the brake booster to get to one of the plugs. The hemi needed plugs every other week. :roll eyes: But that was the 60's.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:07 AM   #13
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When I had my 69 GTX Hemi car I had to take out the brake booster to get to one of the plugs. The hemi needed plugs every other week. :roll eyes: But that was the 60's.
It was sure a bitch fitting headers in those smog equipped cars
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:52 AM   #14
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These days, I buy the pre-diluted (50/50 coolant/water) extended life coolant that is a universal mix with any color antifreeze.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:56 AM   #15
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There are several different kinds of coolant, not all are compatible. The 'universal' coolant does not work on all vehicles.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:31 AM   #16
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This summer I will be replacing the antifreeze in my old chenille with this stuff.

http://www.evanscooling.com/products/coolants/
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:18 PM   #17
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This summer I will be replacing the antifreeze in my old chenille with this stuff.

Coolants Engine Cooling Systems
You have antifreeze in your fabric? Your winters down there in FL must be colder than I remember...
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:36 PM   #18
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You have antifreeze in your fabric? Your winters down there in FL must be colder than I remember...
Nah, you actually need anti freeze down here in Fla but not for freezing. It's the other properties in that antifreeze that is needed.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:02 PM   #19
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Wow. I was just thinking about checking on whether I need a coolant change (my Lexus) and whether I should tell DD to check on hers (Corolla). I knew we didn't need to deal with it so often but I didn't realize coolant basically lasts forever. Same with the spark plugs - 100K? Fantastic. Once they come up with a miracle oil I'm done with maintenance forever.
I'll caveat that I only really know the Prius, and I've heard that the same coolant is used by the rest of Toyota's fleet, but I haven't confirmed it.

Of course the advantage of such high-tech coolant & spark plugs is that most owners will just let the dealer take care of it. I already know better than to try to change/vent/bleed my own coolant. I can only imagine the fun I'd have trying to yank a 12-20-year-old spark plug.

I used to get a guilty conscience if my oil changes went beyond 5000 miles or six months. Now I'm thinking that 7500 miles or 12 months will work too. Of course I've always reached 6 and 12 months before I've reached 5000-7500. This fistfight debate has raged on PriusChat.com for years, with some members even having their old oil analyzed by labs to document whether the change was necessary. But the rumor is that these enthusiasts also paid off their mortgages, so their credibility may be suspect.

I'm getting pretty slack on tire pressure too. I only gas up monthly, and Costco doesn't have an air pump. If the dashboard light doesn't complain about tire pressure, then I probably don't remember to check it more than semi-annually...
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:00 PM   #20
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I'm getting pretty slack on tire pressure too. I only gas up monthly, and Costco doesn't have an air pump. If the dashboard light doesn't complain about tire pressure, then I probably don't remember to check it more than semi-annually...
I have a 2010 Prius (LOVE THAT CAR!) and am just getting ready to take it in for it's 2nd oil change at 20K miles (they changed the recommendation from 5K to 10K between changes just when I bought it).

But I do check the tires monthly, as I have found a significant drop-off in fuel mileage when they are just 3-4 pounds low, and the TPMS only flags a 25% drop in pressure (8-9 pounds low).

EDIT: I usually go to Discount Tire which offers free tire checks, just drive up and they'll check and fill them while you're in the car.
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