Engine Cooling System
What is the cooling system and what does it do?
The engine cooling system affects your car’s overall dependability and engine longevity by removing heat generated from the combustion of fuel in the engine block. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine. The coolant absorbs heat and returns it to the radiator where heat is dissipated. The thermostat regulates the coolant temperature to keep it consistent for efficient engine operation.
Although not as common as they once were, radiator hose and/or heater hose failure will cause a breakdown that you may not be prepared for. But other factors also can contribute to a failure. To prevent a breakdown here are some basic checks:
- Look at the coolant reservoir to see if the coolant level is at the “full” line. If not, add premixed coolant as necessary. Never add coolant to a hot engine, make sure the engine has cooled down. Don’t open your radiator cap on a hot engine. Also, never add straight water unless absolutely necessary. Aluminum heads require the anti-corrosive properties of antifreeze and most vehicles today have aluminum heads. If you have been adding coolant then there’s a leak somewhere and need to have it tested.
- Check protection level. Protection should be around -34, which will indicate a proper mix of 50/50 coolant. If protection is not up to par, then drain and fill your system with proper amounts of coolant / water to ensure optimal performance.
- Check condition of coolant. If the coolant looks oily or sludgy take it in for service / repair as soon as possible. A drain / fill or coolant flush will keep your vehicle running well.
- Know what color your coolant should be. If the color changes then take it in for service/repair.
- Check your hoses. If your hoses are mushy, stiff, crunchy, hard or soft then have them replaced with new clamps.
- Overheating may be caused by a restriction in the system or thermostat issue. Test – Don’t guess. Having your system tested first can save you money from buying un- necessary parts.
- Abnormal noises may indicate a component failure such as a water pump, belt, or tensioner. Have all noises inspected as soon as you can to prevent breakdowns.