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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
It's important to keep your car's engine at the proper temperature. Being too cold, or too hot can affect the car's performance as well as cause damage to the engine. The fluid your car uses to keep from boiling in the summer and freezing in the winter is a mixture of ethylene (ETH-a- leen) glycol (GLY-call), or antifreeze, and water. To get the proper ratio of antifreeze to water, consult your owner's manual, but for most automobiles in most locations, the ratio is about fifty-fifty. Here are some things you can do to keep your car at the proper temperature: Check the level of coolant in the overflow reservoir – make sure it's full. Check hoses to and from the radiator. Small leaks can go undetected until it's too late. Have the cooling system drained and flushed every 24 months or less. If your car was built after 1996, and it has extended-wear coolant, you may be able to get by with replacing your antifreeze at greater intervals. Most importantly, never open a radiator cap or reservoir lid until you're certain the engine is cold. Opening any part of the cooling system when the engine is hot could result in serious injury.

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