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Help! Coolant flushing on a 99 corolla

 
 
Mame
 
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 01:22 pm
I have heard three different stories.

1. My coolant supposedly smells and needs to be changed.

Mechanic A: Cost $140 plus new coolant + taxes, of course. This will be a long-life (3-5 yr) coolant. No mention of a thermostat change.

Mechanic B: $102.00 taxes included. No mention of a thermostat change or a long-life coolant.

Mechanic C: Flush the entire engine and rad, change the thermostat. $145.00 (+ taxes, I'm guessing).

I just bought this car two years ago and have done tune ups, brakes and new tires. Never had the coolant changed.

Which mechanic is right, and why? What should it cost?

I am on Vancouver Island and it doesn't get that cold. I want to be good to my car, though.
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 02:27 pm
Coolant flush is a "gravy job" for an auto shop. Often done to make the customer "Feel" better, and put money in a shops pocket. Coolant will not smell funny per se, unless it is contaminated, which will discolor it.

Is there a sign of corosion in the radiator? You can buy a $5 tester at any auto parts house to see if your antifreeze is out of spec.

A large number of shops use "reconditioned" anti-freeze that they swap barrels with a recycler, and then sell at a retail rate.
Not accusing anyone, but my guess is that your coolant is just fine.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 03:12 pm
Not sure about this one. My Ford manual calls for a change around 35,000 miles, but not a flush. I think consumer's reports came out with similar advise. That is, change sometime or other, but not flush.

If it is an ethyolene glycol compound, disposal does get a little expensive.
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 03:15 pm
Don't know about all locales, but a lot states have disposal available, through auto parts houses. (They take it and dispose of it for consumers in quantities less than 5 gallons.)
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 06:23 pm
That's good to hear, Rockhead. I almost bet it's somehow factored into the cost of buying a gallon off the shelf.
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 06:44 pm
Thank you. All recommended I have it done, so I went with Mechanic B. He said a thermostat replacement was not necessary until I noticed the heating not coming on. Flushes seem to be part of the 'winterizing' up here... I know when you get to winter, you put in antifreeze, and in the spring, you put in something else.

Anyway, I had it done with Mechanic B. He also told me I have a chain-driven system so won't have to ever worry about the timing belt - whew. I've replace a couple of those in other cars.

Also, he recommended I change my leads (dist. wires) because it's idling a big rough and I recently had a tune up which up here just means the plugs are replaced.

Any thoughts on that?
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 07:19 pm
Antifreeze is year round. You should be good for several years as to new fluid, barring leakage.

As to Spark plug wires, make sure you have not already purchased them previously. A "tune up" has whatever meaning the guy giving it has for it.
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 07:23 pm
thanks, rockhead - i looked at my service contract and it didn't mention leads, just plugs. In the old days, it meant the whole ignition system.

i gotta get uptodate, obviously!
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