What Happens If Your Coolant Is Dirty

What Happens If Your Coolant Is Dirty?

A dirty coolant can lead to a lot of serious problems in your car’s engine. Most of the time, coolants become dirty because of rust, dirt, oil residues, or just by forming deposits. The coolant in engines is bound to become dirty with time. But the question is, what happens if your coolant is dirty?

Well, in that case, the efficiency of the heat transfer inside the engine will reduce significantly. Tap water can have calcium and magnesium salt minerals.

These, with time, can solidify and cause blocks in the passage. In conclusion, if the coolant of your engine is not kept clean, the tubes of the radiator become narrow and clogged, eventually disrupting the entire cooling system.

What Causes Dirty Coolant?

A dirty coolant is nothing unusual. Especially if you have an iron engine, you are bound to face this dirty coolant issue.

Most coolants, when new, come with a corrosion inhibitor that helps to keep it from rusting. But, with regular use and time, the coolant will start to rust inevitably.

One of the main reasons why coolants turn dirty is because it has been in contact with sludgy oil. Oil and the water emulsify but never mix. Therefore, the coolant changes to a brownish color.

What Causes Dirty Coolant

Another reason why you might face this issue is that the head gasket has cracked. Water pump gaskets that leak could also cause discoloration.

Mixing antifreeze that is not compatible with each other can also make your coolant turn a brownish or black color.

Lastly, slimy and sticky coolant is the result of using a radiator leak stopper. You will notice, after adding a radiator leak stopper, that the coolant runs slowly and becomes quite viscous, kind of like a nose run.

Is Dirty Coolant Bad?

Yes, if the coolant in your engine is not clean, there can be a lot of complications in the cooling system. The cooling system plays a huge role in keeping your car’s engine in good health.

Coolant becomes dirty due to the build-up of dirt, grime, dust, and rust. All these things can never be good for a car.

Is Dirty Coolant Bad

If the coolants become gummy and thick, it can cause the car’s mechanism to malfunction. Modern cars have a feature that automatically stops the engine if the coolant level is too low.

Now, if you do not change the dirty coolant, the product will cause your car’s engine to run too hot. Not changing the coolant can also result in your car not starting in winter.

What Does It Mean When Your Coolant Turns Brown?

The brown color is the most common indicator of a dirty coolant. These are mostly seen in iron engines.

Most commonly, the coolant in your iron engine will turn brown because it has not been changed recently. Adding a fresh coolant that has corrosion inhibitors will keep the rust away. These inhibitors, with time, are used up by the blocks. And so, the coolant starts to accumulate rust from the inside.

So, the brown color in the coolant is the rust’s orange-brown tone.

What Does It Mean When Your Coolant Turns Brow

The solution to this problem is changing the coolant. Changing the product will ensure that the coolant remains translucent, as it should be.

Another reason the coolant could appear to be brown is contact with sludgy oil. If sludgy oil gets into the coolant, the product can turn a dark orangish-brown or creamy chocolate color.

The color is the result of the water and oil not mixing but emulsifying.

What Does It Mean When Your Coolant Is Black?

On the other hand, if the coolant is a darker, more black color, you might be dealing with more serious problems.

Hoses in the radiator that have deteriorated significantly might make your coolant look black. Or there could be cruds in the cooling system.

Just like when your coolant becomes brown, the black shade can also be a result of the coolant coming in contact with oil. But the black shade does not appear with only an intake manifold leak or an engine oil contact from a blown head gasket.

Coolant Is Black

Coolant becomes black mostly because of contact with transmission fluid from a cooler radiator leak.

When mixing different types of antifreeze, you always have to check whether they’re compatible with each other or not. Mixing antifreeze that does not go well together can be a contributor to making the coolant black as well.

Final Words

If you’re still wondering what happens if your coolant is dirty, the answer, in simple words, is a lot of damage to your car. No one wants their car’s engine to run hotter than it should. To keep the engine in perfect health, you must flush your coolant when needed.

Keep in mind, not changing the coolant regularly can cause irreparable damage to your car.

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