Imagine you, sitting on the side of the road, watching steam gushing from your car radiator. Maybe you didn't know you should get your coolant system flushed and the anti-freeze replaced every two years. Maybe you knew, but kept putting it off 'til "tomorrow". One thing you do know for certain is this will never happen again!
You aren't alone.
For some reason, caring for a car's coolant system is the most ignored car maintenance task. However, this is a prime example where prevention is less painful than the cure. And, inconveniences such as this make a good case for using the same reputable and reliable auto repair shop to remind you of upcoming service needs. After about two years, the chemicals in antifreeze begins to break down; causing gunk and grime build up in your radiator, hoses, head gasket and engine. Eventually, the entire cooling system will be obstructed and your engine will overheat. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation enlighten us that the principal reason for mechanical failure when driving on the highway is malfunction of cooling systems. Plain old-fashioned neglect is the root cause of cooling system failure.
In between your car's cooling system flushes, it's a good idea to examine the hoses, water pump and radiator occasionally. White-streaked hoses indicate leakage, as would a major loss of coolant in a brief amount of time. If nothing else seems awry the problem could have stemmed with the engine briefly overheating. Look at the markings on the side of the overflow bottle to determine low and high levels. Then, remove the radiator cap to find out if the antifreeze level is up to the top. If so, fill the overflow bottle with a blend of 50% water and 50% antifreeze.