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GM Dex Cool

Recently I noticed a little scent of coolant coming from my car. I got under the hood to check because usually that means a leak from any number of possible broken parts throughout the complex cooling system. It wasn’t hard to find – right on top of the plastic inlet tank there was a tiny crack letting fluid leak ever so slowly.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to fix that one myself so I called Gerald’s Radiator here in Anderson. I met Gerald on one other occasion and he seemed like a pretty professional good ole boy who knows what he’s doing, so I decided to take my repair need to him. The bill was way better than what I would have had to pay the Cadillac people, but even more valuable than that was the lesson he gave me about Dex Cool.

He showed me articles about Dex Cool clogging up and corroding cooling systems which eventually breaks critical parts all over the engine and transmission because they all depend on the cooling system working properly. I was intrigued because I drive a Cadillac Catera – which comes with Dex Cool in the system. There were pictures of broken and corroded parts all through these trade magazines he had. I was convinced – get that crap out of my car and put in regular antifreeze.

After Gerald was done working on my car he told me he had to unclog one third of my radiator because it was stopped up with sludge that Dex Cool causes. That would explain why in the summer my car would out of the blue run really hot until I turned off the a/c then it would cool back down. I was probably on the verge of major breakdown. I just hope there aren’t any corroded parts that will break later on.

I decided to just do a general google search for what’s out there on the net regarding Dex Cool. There is a ton of stuff about the problems, the lawsuits, and even the good intentions GM has for using it. The hard evidence is convincing enough to me. Good intentions or not – I think Dex Cool is a bad product. I mostly just read the consumer affairs writeup on the Dex Cool issue, and I also read some of the consumer complaints about it.

The article says not to replace Dex Cool with regular Antifreeze, but Gerald was confident it would be ok. I just hope he flushed it out good enough that they didn’t mix because it seems that is the concern with changing to regular from dex cool – they don’t mix well. But it’s a catch 22 – if you don’t change it you’re stuck with a chemical that will eventually tear up your car, and if you do change them you risk mixing the new with the old and having a bad mix in your car. I’m living on the edge I guess and going with the changed fluid that hopefully is pure enough to keep me running a lot longer. I’ll just have it flushed more often to be sure.

Thanks to Gerald for looking out for me. If anyone else has Dex Cool in your car you might have some decisions to make – or at least get that crap flushed often. Whatever you do don’t go by GM’s non-warrantied statement that Dex Cool is good for 100,000 – 150,000 miles because that just isn’t true. 

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