Cooling System Corrosion EngineHave you ever had the radiator in your car start leaking and wonder how on Earth can a radiator get worn enough to leak? After all, aside from physical damage, what can possibly wear out in a radiator?

What you are seeing is the effects of a chemical reaction called "electrolysis corrosion". Electrolysis corrosion is a chemical reaction that occurs between a car's coolant and metal surfaces within the cooling system. A typical cooling system, for example, will involve an iron engine block, aluminum heads and radiator. Because of the different metals involved, very small electric currents will flow in between the different metal surfaces. The result of this over time is a corrosion that will eat away the metals and eventually causes holes and leaks.

And it's not just metals that can corrode away. Radiator and heater hoses can also fail because of electrolysis corrosion. Rubber is normally non-conductive so you wouldn't think this would be possible. Not so, the service team at explained to us. The coolant can react electrochemically with synthetic rubber too, causing it to degenerate and crack. If you cut open a hose that has failed because of electrolysis, the inside will usually have cracks and creases created by the electrochemical process.

Of course, car manufacturers have known about this for years and they compensate by putting corrosion inhibiters in the coolant fluid. These corrosion inhibiters are very important to have and this is why it's important to keep fresh antifreeze in your car.

Cooling System Corrosion Engine

Here's what electrolysis corrosion can do specifically to your car:

Radiator leakage - Coolant leaking from the radiator with the appearance of small, wet pinholes on the metal parts of the radiator. You may possibly see coolant dripping underneath your car in small puddles.

Heater core leakage - Coolant leaking from the heater core will usually leave drips or wet spots on the front carpet under the dash of your car. You may also see steam or a greasy vapor condensing on your windshield when the heater or defroster is on.

Intake manifold gasket leakage – Coolant will seep into your engine oil due to a softening of the seals on certain intake manifold gaskets. It may also occur due to corrosion eating away at the edges of coolant ports in the cylinder heads and intake manifold. Generally this can be fixed by replacing the intake manifold gasket with a new one with a wider sealing area with multiple sealing beads. Unfortunately, this sort of repair can be expensive.

What you can do to prevent expensive repairs due to electrolysis corrosion? If it has been more than five years since you've changed your coolant, drain and flush your cooling system, then refill it with a 50/50 mixture of fresh coolant and distilled water. Do NOT use ordinary tap water because tap water can contain dissolved minerals that are corrosive and will shorten the life of the corrosion inhibitors in the coolant. You can also use pre-mixed antifreeze that contains distilled water and is mixed in the correct proportions.

Face it, keeping a fresh anti-freeze in your car is cheap insurance against the expensive repairs that can occur when electrolysis corrosion starts eating at your engine and other parts.

Article Source: Wolfchase Chrysler