MURRIETA CAR COOLING SYSTEM REPAIR
Maintaining Your Car's Cooling System
Maintaining Your Car's Cooling System
Unless you drive an old German air-cooled car (Porsche or VW), chances are you'll have to tend to the cooling system of your vehicle someday. Internal combustion engines create friction. Even with the best motor oils, which help to reduce the friction by making everything slippery so that the internal components slide past one another with a minimum amount of resistance, the engine still produces a vast amount of friction. Friction creates heat, the enemy of engines far and wide.
It is the job of your engine's cooling system to get rid of that heat as quickly and efficiently as possible. Beyond the comfort offered by being able to control the temperature inside your vehicle, your auto’s cooling system is necessary in preventing your ride from breaking down due to incredibly high operating temperatures.
An engine that is overheating will quickly self destruct, so proper maintenance of the cooling system is very important to the life of the engine and the trouble free operation of the cooling system in general.
Your Vehicle’s Cooling System: How It Works
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.
The fluid within your car's cooling system contains both water and coolant. The coolant portion consists of a green fluid that contains ethylene glycol. This chemical extends the freezing and boiling point of water, making it ideal for use in automotive radiators; it also inhibits rust, an added bonus. For most climates, a recommended minimum 50-50 mix of coolant to water is sufficient (check your owner's manual). For more severe climates, you can increase this percentage to about 70 percent, at which point the benefit stops.
The National Automotive Radiator Service Association (NARSA) recommends that motorists have a seven-point preventative cooling system maintenance check at least once every two years. The seven-point program is designed to identify any areas that need attention. We can do this for you, at American Auto Care, or you can do it yourself. It consists of:
1) Visual inspection of all cooling system components, including belts and hoses: This makes sure that the hoses have no cracking or splitting and that there is no bulging or swelling at the ends. If there is, the hose should be replaced with the correct part number for the year, make and model of the vehicle.
2) Radiator pressure cap test to check for the recommended system pressure level: It should be able to hold its rated pressure for two minutes. Replace it every 3 years or 36,000 mile with one that is designed for your vehicle.
3) Thermostat check for proper opening and closing: During this check, if it is suspected that the thermostat is faulty, remove it and place it in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and watch the thermostat. You should see it open when the water reaches a boil. Most thermostats open at about 195 degrees Fahrenheit. An oven thermometer in the water should confirm that the thermostat is working properly.
4) 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. To do this, after the cooling system has cooled sufficiently safely remove the pressure cap. Once you are sure that the cooling system is full of coolant, a cooling system pressure tester is attached in place of the radiator cap. The tester is then pumped to build up pressure in the system. There is a gauge on the tester indicating how much pressure is being pumped. You should pump it to the pressure indicated on the pressure cap or to manufacturer's specs. Once pressure is applied, you can begin to look for leaks.
5) Internal leak test to check for combustion gas leakage into the cooling system: This is a kit that performs a chemical test on the vapors in the radiator. Blue tester fluid is added to the plastic container on the tester. If the fluid turns yellow during the test, then exhaust gasses are present in the radiator.
6) Engine fan test for proper operation: When the car was in motion, the speed of the air entering the grill was sufficient to keep the coolant at the proper temperature, so the fans were shut off. When the vehicle came to a stop, there was no natural air flow, so the fan would come on as soon as the engine reached a certain temperature.
7) System power flush and refill with car manufacturer's recommended concentration of coolant: This is why you need to replace your coolant mixture once in awhile. When the coolant breaks down, more stress is placed on your radiator and your engine begins to run hotter than normal.
Gunk and mineral deposits also build up under your vehicle’s hood, effectively reducing your vehicle’s overall performance. Prolonged use of bad coolant can also result to radiator damage, requiring you to replace your radiator sooner than you actually have to.
These are a few of the basic things you can do to maintain your cooling system. If all this hands-on stuff scares you, bring your car to us in Murrieta at American Auto Care. Most cooling system problems are easily fixed. Remember, though, never drive a seriously-overheating car. It can cost you thousands.
Tags: Overheating, Cooling System, Radiator, 7 Point Cooling System Check, Maintenance Tips,