Know the cooling system of your car




It is recommended that a seven (7)-point preventative cooling system maintenance check be performed at least once every two years. Consult your vehicle owners manual for specific auto guidelines. This inspection is designed to identify areas that need attention, and consists of:

  • a visual inspection of all cooling system components, including belts and hoses
  • a radiator cap pressure test to check for the recommended system pressure level
  • a thermostat check for proper opening and closing
  • a pressure test to identify any external leaks to the cooling system parts; including the radiator, water pump,  engine coolant passages, radiator and heater hoses and heater core
  • an internal leak test to check for combustion gas leakage into the cooling system 
  • Engine cooling fan test for proper operation


Antifreeze/Coolant 

The main function of the Cooling System is to carry heat away from the engine and maintain the desired operating temperature. This is accomplished by circulating antifreeze/coolant through the engine, where heat is generated, and carrying it to the radiator to be cooled.

Modern automobiles operate in a wide variety of ambient temperatures, from well below freezing to well over 100 F. The fluid used to cool the engine must have a very low freezing point, a high boiling point, and it must have the ability to transfer heat. 

An adequate amount of an antifreeze/coolant and water mixture is necessary to reduce the possibility of engine overheating and freezing, and contain additives to prevent rust and corrosion in the cooling system.

Water is one of the most effective fluids for holding heat, but water freezes at too high a temperature to be used in automobile engines alone. 

The fluid used in most vehicles is a mixture of water and ethylene glycol, also known as "antifreeze" or "coolant". By adding antifreeze to water, the boiling and freezing points are improved significantly. 

The temperature of the coolant can sometimes reach 250 to 275 F (121 to 135 C). Even with antifreeze added, these temperatures would boil the coolant.  To prevent this, the cooling system is pressurized, which further raises the boiling point of the coolant. Most systems have around 14 to 15 pounds per square inch (psi), which raises the boiling point approximately 45 F so the coolant can endure the high temperatures produced in the engine. 

Coolant Hoses

The radiator hoses and heater hoses are easily inspected by opening the hood and looking.  You want to be sure that the hoses have no cracking or splitting and that there is no bulging or swelling at the ends.  

If there are any signs of problems, the hose should be replaced with the correct part number for the year, make, model and engine of the vehicle.  

Never use a universal hose unless it is an emergency and a proper molded hose is not available.

For either the radiator hoses or the heater hoses, make sure that you route the replacement hose in the same way that the original hose was running.  Position the hose away from any obstruction that can possibly damage it and always use new hose clamps. 

After the cooling system is refilled with the proper coolant mixture,  a pressure test should be performed to ensure that there are no leaks. 

Belts

On most older vehicles, the water pump is driven by either a V belt or serpentine belt on the front of the engine that is also responsible for driving the alternator, power steering pump and air conditioner compressor.  These types of belts are easy to inspect and replace if they are worn.  Check for dry cracking on the inside surface of the belt.

On newer vehicles, the water pump is often driven by the timing belt.  This belt usually has a specific life expectancy at which time it must be replaced to insure that it does not fail.  Since the timing belt is inside the engine and will require partial engine disassembly to inspect, it is very important to replace the timing belt at the scheduled interval. 
 

Common causes of cooling system faults
  • Failure to cover the radiator cap properly after adding the coolant
  • Failure to seek an attention of an expert when a coolant level dropped and took more coolant than expected. A coolant of a car is working fluid of a closed system which is expected to remain steady. Something caused the drop in level of your car coolant, take your time to find it out or seek the attention of an expert if you are unclear of an explanation. Failure to do this could cause a significant rise in  temperature, if the coolant level dried off and you forgot to top it.  It could caused a great damage to your engine if an inexperienced driver take out a car without noticing the temperature language of the vehicle. 

  • Blockage of the radiator. This is due to the use of impure coolant, especially water which could create a scale deposit inside your engine and in the tiny holes of your radiator.  Don't feel up your car radiator with dirty water.  Water again reacts with iron form oxides, termed corrosion or rust.   Always used a designated to coolant to keep your engine components saved of corrosion. 
  • Radiator cooling fan failed. This also can caused rise in temperature if not properly rectified. It can a burn cylider head gasket.

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