Car owners and truck drivers will sometimes ignore their need for a radiator replacement in Illinois. After all, Illinois isn’t exactly known for its record-breaking heat, and, for the most part, it stays a toasty 85º F during the summer, give or take. With those relatively low temperatures, there’s such a small chance of your car overheating that it’s practically a non-issue, right? So who cares if there’s a small hole in your radiator? You’ll just keep topping off the coolant when it gets low, and you’ll be golden.
A Cool Car is a Happy Car
But don’t fool yourself into putting off a disaster waiting to happen. Allowing your vehicle to leak coolant is playing with fire. Your engine’s temperature has a lot more to do with how it’s driven than the ambient temperature, and overheating is possible even in the dead of winter. If your vehicle does happen to overheat, the damage caused to the engine can extend well beyond the cost of, say, a radiator replacement or a new water pump.
Even if it doesn’t overheat (best-case scenario) the leak will allow contaminants and foreign substances to mix in with your engine coolant. Modern automotive coolant is a chemical mixture of very specific compounds. Any imbalance or introduction of foreign substances can lead to internal damage to your engine, a worn-down water pump, or even more leaks.
If Not for the Car, Repair for the Environment
On top of all of that, coolant is meant to be disposed of by a licensed organization because it can be incredibly harmful if handled improperly. Ethylene glycol, the primary ingredient in automotive coolant, is a sweet-tasting substance and household pets seem to be drawn to it. Unfortunately, it also happens to be toxic as it causes failure of the nervous system, the heart, and the kidneys. Historically, it has been such a problem that Illinois legislated that a bittering agent was to be added to all commercial antifreeze to reduce the number of animal deaths caused by the substance. If your car is leaking it all over the ground, the chances of a cat finding it and drinking it are pretty high, even with the bittering agent. A teaspoon is all it will take to be fatal to someone’s feline companion.
So please keep coolant safely contained within your vehicle. Get a radiator replacement, have that gasket replaced, whatever it needs. Your vehicle will run longer, you won’t have to fill up the coolant every time you stop for gas, and the cats in your neighborhood will thank you for it.