Coolant System Best Practices

July 27, 2023

To keep up with ever-changing vehicles, tire dealers may notice they are stocking up on more types and brands of antifreeze than ever before.  

Mark Cammy, founder and owner of Camco Tire & Auto LLC, which is headquartered in Milton, Del., is one of them. 

He says stocking many different types of antifreeze is better than using a universal antifreeze. 

“Different manufacturers use different components in their antifreeze, so they are pretty much all specific,” says Cammy. 

He says that as an example, General Motors uses what it calls a DEX-cool product, which is an orange antifreeze. Ford uses its own gold and orange color. BMW uses its green color antifreeze. 

Camco Tire & Auto keeps around eight different brands of antifreeze in stock at all times and mostly carries manufacturer-specific antifreeze. 

“It’s a better service when you use the manufacturer-specific antifreeze,” he says. “We like to put in the vehicles what came out of them.” 

Right recommendations 

Camco Tire & Auto has been at its current location in Delaware for seven years. Before that, Cammy had two Camco Tire & Auto locations in New Jersey, before moving to Delaware. 

Having added a third service bay to his shop, Cammy says his dealership derives 20% of its revenue from tire sales and 80% from automotive services.  

Having been in the industry for 40 years, he says he sees a difference in coolant system products.  

“Nowadays, manufacturers say it’s a long-life antifreeze,” explains Cammy.  

“So you can basically go 100,000 miles based on some manufacturers' recommendations. Personally, that’s a little too long for me.”  

Cammy instead advises his three full-time employees and one-part time employee to service coolant systems whenever they work on a customer’s thermostat, water pump or radiator problem.  

“The antifreeze is much better than it used to be and it’s more specific to aluminum engines,” he says.  

Educating customers

Educating customers on the benefits of cooling system service is important, according to Cammy. He says customers should know that these services help ensure “optimal health” for their vehicles’ engines.  

“It allows for optimal cooling, optimal heating and less damage to the engine due to the wrong antifreeze,” he says. 

Sometimes, he adds, customers take a “do-it-yourself" approach when it comes to coolant system service. 

Cammy likes to call them "YouTube-certified" or "Google-certified" customers who think they can learn how to perform coolant services from an article or video.  

When these customers bring their vehicles back to Camco Tire & Auto, he says it’s a great time to educate them on the necessity of professional service. 

“Everybody is trying to save money these days, which I can appreciate, but I always say, ‘Cheap work is not good work and good work is not cheap.

“A lot of these guys say, ‘I watched a three-minute video on how to do this,’” laughs Cammy. “And I have to tell them that they watched a condensed video of an hour-long service.”

Ready for summer 

Coolant system service begins to ramp up for Camco Tire & Auto in the summer months. Cammy credits this to the warm weather and more travel.

“We are a resort community, so we get a lot of what we call weekend warriors coming in from different states,” he says. “These people drive a few hours and don’t do proper maintenance on their cars beforehand, so they have to come to see us.”

Cammy doesn’t actively market coolant system services, but rather keeps up with vehicle maintenance by doing routine checks when customers come in.

He also makes sure to give them an estimate on how many more miles they can go before they need these services.  

“Other than that, coolant (system) failures market themselves,” he says.

About the Author

Madison Gehring | Associate Editor

Madison Gehring is Modern Tire Dealer's associate editor. A graduate of Ohio State University, Gehring holds a bachelors degree in journalism. During her time at Ohio State, she wrote for the university's student-run newspaper, The Lantern, and interned at CityScene Media Group in Columbus, Ohio.