Click Here
Winter Car Guide
Man checking car tire
5 threats to your car from Old Man Winter

Inadequate antifreeze
4 of 7
Inadequate antifreeze

If you live where subzero winter weather is common, old or improperly diluted antifreeze can be a time bomb waiting to destroy your engine.

"Anytime a cooling system freezes, that's the worst thing that can happen to it," says Randy Burns, owner/manager of Gordon's No. 1 Auto Service LLC in Franklin, Wis. "You could then end up dealing with something as simple as popping the radiator -- and that actually is the best-case scenario -- to a devastating situation of cracks in the engine block or cylinder head.

With the plastic end caps in many of today's radiators, the best outcome would be to have those parts crack, says Burns.

"That offers the freezing water a place to expand, and that radiator repair will run from $350 to $600, depending on the type of car. If the damage is to the engine, you're looking at replacing it with a new crate or rebuilt engine because it would be cost-prohibitive to track down and repair what cracked. That can cost more than $4,000," Burns says.

Prevention is simple and inexpensive. "Have your cooling system checked regularly, and flush and replace your antifreeze, according to the recommendations of your owner's manual," says Burns.




Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us

Get cost-cutting tips for buying, selling and maintaining your wheels. Delivered monthly.

Partner Center


Tara Baukus Mello

More cars on the road for Thanksgiving

Expect the roads to be crowded this Thanksgiving holiday, with more Americans piling their families into their cars to visit loved ones.  ... Read more

Connect with us