Cooling system failure is one of the top causes of vehicle breakdowns. Summer’s sweltering days are just around the corner. Several symptoms that you should be on the lookout for (according to the Car Care Council) are:
- ENGINE OVERHEATING
- Sweet Smell of ANTIFREEZE
- ADDING COOLANT or antifreeze FREQUENTLY because it seems to disappear
Being well acquainted with these signs and symptoms of your vehicle’s cooling system being in distress could save you thousands of dollars by avoiding a major cooling system failure that could cause your engine to seize. THAT means coughing up cash to rebuild or replace your engine…or buy a new car altogether.
Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council tell us that:
“If the cooling system doesn’t receive regular maintenance, it’s not a question of whether it will fail, but rather when it will fail. Performing regular checkups of belts, hoses, the water pump and fluids will ensure your car remains properly cooled and healthy for many miles down the road.”
Removing heat generated during the internal combustion process is what the engine’s cooling system is all about. Coolant temperature (the mixture of antifreeze and water) can be well over 200 degrees Fahrenheit…and that heat has to go somewhere, otherwise the engine and its vital components start failing. Four key components of the cooling system that remove heat from the engine and automatic transmission and move it to the air outside are:
- Water Pump – circulates coolant through the engine.
- Coolant – absorbs heat and returns it to the
- Radiator – where heat is dissipated.
- Thermostat – regulates the coolant temperature to keep it consistent for efficient engine operation.
What’s the #1 weapon vehicle owners have to prevent major engine catastrophes resulting from cooling system failures??: Regular coolant changes & cooling system flushes
You should check out your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific guidelines as to how often to change antifreeze and flush the coolant system. A coolant flush and fill is vital to cooling system maintenance…because new antifreeze helps the engine run cooler and flushing it removes dirt or sediment that could damage other cooling system parts.
Remember…NEVER open a hot radiator cap. You can check coolant level at the reservoir instead. A 50/50 mixture of quality antifreeze and distilled water should be added if/when the coolant level is low.