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The cooling system of a road vehicle’s engine needs proper maintenance to avoid overheating and expensive repairs. It consists of the radiator, water pump, thermostat and rubber hoses that run coolant through the machine.
Park the car, allow the engine to cool down and inspect the cooling system for signs of overheating or other damage. Start with the radiator cap; remove it and feel for cool spots. Contact All Temp Air Conditioning & Refrigeration for more details.
Overheating is one of the most common cooling system issues. When your temperature gauge reaches the hot mark, it means something is preventing coolant from circulating properly through your engine. This could be due to a cooling system leak, clogged radiator fan, faulty water pump or low engine oil. Regardless of the source, overheating is never good and should be treated as an emergency. If left unchecked, an overheated engine could sustain serious, if not permanent damage.
Overtime, the coolant in your car can wear out and start to lose its effectiveness. This is why it is important to have the correct coolant and to keep up with regular fluid changes. If you haven’t been doing so, check your owner’s manual for the recommended intervals or come in for a cooling system flush and fill.
As soon as you see your engine overheating, turn off your air conditioner (this puts extra stress on the cooling system) and put your heater on high to pull heat away from the engine block. This will help slow the cooling system’s failure and allow you to drive to a repair shop safely.
Once you have stopped and turned off your engine, take a look under the hood to make sure there are no signs of overheating or leaking liquid. If there is a cooling leak, it is likely because your engine’s passageways have been blocked by rust or engine sediment or you may not be driving with the proper amount of coolant. Check for puddles of coolant or a sweet smell which are both indications of a leak.
If your coolant is low, a little bit of water can be added for a temporary fix. However, this doesn’t address the issue of what is causing the cooling system to fail so continue to seek a professional service center.
Overheating can cause many different issues with your vehicle, including blown head gaskets and warped engine parts. When one of these major components fails, the entire cooling system will need to be replaced, resulting in a costly repair bill.
Coolant leaks are a common cooling system issue. The system is a network of tubes and hoses that connect to engine components, and they’re all susceptible to cracking, leaking, or developing holes for a variety of reasons. Coolant is a poisonous substance, and it’s important to track down and repair these leaks as soon as possible to avoid driving your car on low coolant levels, which can cause the engine to overheat.
Often, the first sign of a coolant leak is a puddle of coolant under your car, but finding the source can be challenging. This is because air blowing over the front of your car from the radiator fan or road speed can blow the coolant around, making it hard to pinpoint the source.
The best way to find the source of a coolant leak is to drain the system. Start by opening the radiator cap (don’t touch it when hot!), and then checking the radiator, hoses, water pump, and other components for signs of a leak. Look for a light-colored residue or stain, which is coolant, as well as any puddles underneath the car.
Leaks in the radiator are most common, but they can also happen on the hoses that lead to and from it. These can develop holes due to corrosion, rust, and general wear and tear. The seals in the radiator’s head gasket can also wear out, and this can allow coolant to escape the closed system and into the engine.
Finally, the expansion tank can develop leaks. These can be caused by a crack on the tank itself or by faulty rubber hoses that are wearing out.
The good news is that any of these problems can be fixed fairly easily, and they all require an inspection from a trusted mechanic. The most important thing to remember is that it’s impossible to drive on low coolant levels, and it only takes a few miles at highway speeds to overheat the engine. Getting coolant and antifreeze leaks repaired as soon as possible can save you from a tow truck, a popped hood, and expensive engine damage.
The thermostat plays a major role in your car’s temperature control, opening and closing as needed to let coolant reach the radiator. It’s a simple part, but it’s also subject to a lot of wear and tear. As such, it can eventually fail. When it does, you’ll likely notice some common cooling system problems like engine overheating or a temperature gauge that fluctuates erratically.
Another sign of a failing thermostat is the smell of burnt coolant. This is an indicator that the thermostat has been overheating, causing it to burn through its internal parts. It’s important to replace a burned-out thermostat as soon as possible, or you could risk irreparable damage to your engine.
In some cases, you can get a failing thermostat to work properly by replacing its gasket. This is typically a simple process, though it may require some specialized tools. You’ll need to take the old thermostat out of the vehicle, remove its lid, and then install a new gasket to ensure it seals correctly. Once you’ve done this, you can reinstall the thermostat and refill your car with fresh coolant.
A failing thermostat can also cause your engine to overcool, which will reduce its efficiency and lead to poor fuel economy. Overcooling will also increase your exhaust emissions, which can impact the environment in a number of ways.
While you’re at it, you should also consider flushing the coolant in your car. Then, you can replace it with fresh coolant that will help your engine stay healthy and your vehicle run well for a long time to come.
If your cooling system is not working at all, you should first check the thermostat’s batteries. If they’re dead, the thermostat will be unable to send electrical signals to your AC or heating systems, making them useless.
If you find that the thermostat’s battery is still good, you can try to open it and check its wire connections to see if they’re firmly attached. However, since messing with a hot engine can be dangerous, it’s best to leave this type of thermostat repair to a professional.
Failing Water Pump
The water pump is the component that ensures your car’s coolant is properly circulating to the radiator and back again. If it begins to fail, you’ll need to bring your car into the shop for a replacement. If you wait too long, your engine will overheat and sustain significant damage, possibly requiring the entire block or cylinder head to be replaced.
Over time, your car’s water pump can suffer from a number of problems that may cause it to leak. A cracked housing is a common culprit, and the resulting leak can ruin the cooling system by preventing proper circulation of your car’s coolant. A faulty bearing inhibits the pump’s ability to turn and can also lead to a failure. The gasket can also wear out, causing a leaking seal.
If your water pump is not functioning properly, the coolant will never circulate through the engine and radiator and will eventually overheat. A failing water pump can also damage other components in your cooling system. Observing signs of a failing water pump and having it repaired immediately will help to extend the life of your engine, minimizing the need for expensive repairs in the future.
A leaking shaft seal is another common problem that can occur in your water pump. Leaks in the shaft seal usually reveal themselves by leaving coolant stains around the vent area. These leaks can be intermittent and are often aggravated by contaminants such as rust and sand particles that circulate throughout the cooling system.
During the break-in period of a new water pump, a little seepage from the weep hole is normal and expected as the mechanical seal seats itself. However, excessive dripping after the initial ten minute window could be an indication that your water pump is beginning to fail.
The water pump’s seals are vulnerable to abrasion from the sand and rust particles that make their way into the system. This can be mitigated by flushing the coolant at recommended intervals, using a premium quality coolant and purchasing high-quality replacement parts. It is also important to keep the proper ratio of water to coolant specified in your owner’s manual.