Your car’s engine produces an unbelievable amount of friction and heat due to the constant movement and pressure of the metal parts rubbing against one another. To that end, a coolant system is required to handle the heat and friction, which is the everlasting foe of your vehicle’s internal combustion engine.
In this post, we will be discussing step-by-step instructions on maintaining your cooling system to prevent more problems, engine overheating, as well as the probable seizure of your vehicle’s integral components. Here are the steps that you should follow for maintaining your cooling system:
- Perform a visual inspection of the belts and hoses.
- Replace the hose if you notice anything off.
- Replace the water pump if needed.
- Keep track of your repair records.
Not only that, but we will also be talking about the key parts of your vehicle’s cooling system and its functions. Read on if you want to know more.
What Are the Main Parts of Your Car’s Cooling System?
Considered the main component of your vehicle’s cooling system, it is placed just behind the front grill of your car. The way it works is that hot coolant passes through a series of tubes and fins that aid in eliminating heat coming from the liquid into the air. After, it pumps the coolant back to the engine block once it has attained the accurate temperature.
The radiator cap is also considered a very important part, as it maintains the pressure in your vehicle’s cooling system. Once the pressure goes beyond the set pressure point, you will notice that a spring-loaded valve will be releasing the extra pressure.
Commonly found at the front part of your car’s engine, the thermostat is a valve that regulates and measures the flow of the coolant into your vehicle’s engine. Its basic function is to ensure that the coolant is at its optimum temperature before it opens to allow the coolant to flow into the radiator.
Normally found at the cylinder block’s front portion, the water pump is a very important tool that will keep the coolant moving as long as your car’s engine is still running.
You might be able to find one or two fans mounted to the back side of your cooling system’s radiator. Its primary function is to maintain the circulation of air, especially when you are stopped with the engine still running or when you are driving at a slower speed. If there are no fans, your engine is likely to overheat every time to make a stop.
The coolant is the liquid that streams through your vehicle’s cooling system. While there are several coolants that come in different colors and formulas, the most common coolant nowadays is a combination of 50% water and 50% antifreeze. To that end, you may want to check the owner’s manual to see the manufacturer’s recommendation.
What Are the Common Cooling System Warning Signs?
There are a lot of telltale signs that you need to be aware of when performing regular maintenance on your car’s cooling system. Knowing the signs will help you diagnose and solve the problem easily. To add, it may also help you in preventing malfunctions and failures in the future.
If you see that the heater is not working, you might want to check if the thermostat is still operational or has malfunctioned. If you notice that there is a leak, you should also check if the thermostat has become faulty. To add, manually checking the fan is recommended to see if it is the reason why you find it impossible to adjust the temperature.
If you notice that your vehicle has poor gas mileage, it could be because there is a restriction in your coolant flow, especially in the heater core or any other area that is within your vehicle’s cooling system. If you smell something sweet under the hood, the water pump may have experienced failure in the internal seal and bearing.
Suspect that road debris or corrosion has occurred, causing a hole in the radiator or heater core when you notice that the coolant light turns on. To add, if you see that the temperature gauge level is beyond normal, it might be because the heater hoses or the radiator have failed. Lastly, if your car’s engine overheats, it may be because of its age, humidity, or heavy usage.
Maintaining Your Cooling System
Before you proceed with the maintenance, check to see if the owner’s manual includes the recommended interval for antifreeze change, as well as coolant system flushing. Replacing the antifreeze will help your vehicle’s engine run a little cooler. Flushing it will also help in removing dirt, rust, and other sediments that may damage the engine’s water pump.
If you like to do it yourself, make sure that you have checked the owner’s manual first and follow the instructions as listed. In addition, follow the local laws and regulations on the proper disposal of used antifreeze. You may have to use a closed container to prevent it from draining onto the ground or storm drains.
Here’s what you should follow:
- First, perform a visual inspection, particularly of the belts and hoses. Check thoroughly if they have any signs of splitting or cracking. To add, check to see if there is no bulging or swelling, specifically at the ends of the hose.
- If you see that anything is off, you might need to replace the hose.
- Newer vehicles normally have the water pump driven by a timing belt, which usually has a life expectancy that indicates it needs replacing to prevent failure.
- Keep track of your repair records so you know what needs to be done the next time you perform maintenance on the cooling system.
You might also want to consider using a flush solution that helps in removing more rust and sediment. This would be much more effective than using normal water. Just remember that if you think that you cannot do the job on your own, you must seek help from a professional, and they would be very much happy to do it for you.
Aside from visual inspection, you might also want to try doing the radiator pressure cap test, pressure test, thermostat check, internal leak test, engine fan test, as well as system power flush. Doing these tests will assure you that your engine’s cooling system will be at its optimum performance every time you drive your vehicle.
Regular maintenance of your car’s cooling system is vital, especially if you want your vehicle to keep working in proper order. Similar to us having to visit our dentist and doctor, every car owner should also take the time to maintain the car’s cooling system to prevent damages, as well as expensive mistakes. We hope that you have learned a lot about maintaining your cooling system.