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Car experts say that one of the easiest ways to steer clear of some serious road hazards is to make sure you're taking care of your car properly. Coolant issues are the number one cause of roadside mechanical breakdowns, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and there are an estimated 23 million cars on the road using the wrong type of coolant.

"Using the wrong coolant can affect the entire cooling system," said automotive expert Dr. Dave Turcotte, technical director for Zerex products. "When it comes to buying coolant for your car, consumers should not be fooled by claims that a product is universal or right for all makes and models."

Using the wrong kind of coolant can lead to radiator or water pump damage and even cause breakdowns. To make sure the right type of coolant is being used, drivers should refer to their vehicle owner's manual and carefully read the product label to make sure the coolant they're using is automaker-approved and that the make of their car IS on the label.

To avoid road bumps, drivers should:

  • Use a coolant product that offers the right chemistry for each vehicle model;
  • Check tires for worn tread or improper air pressure;
  • Check to make sure belts aren't worn;
  • Make sure hoses are attached properly.

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