Cooling System Maintenance Tips
Regular inspections can help avoid problems down the road.
The job of your automobile’s cooling system is to keep your vehicle’s engine operating within the temperature range specified by its manufacturer. Cooling systems are not highly complicated, but regular maintenance is needed to ensure their proper operation in all types of weather conditions.
There are a number of signs that could indicate that your vehicle’s cooling system might require professional attention. The first is if the temperature gauge or warning light on your dash indicates that your vehicle is overheating. Even slight overheating can have a negative effect on your car’s performance and the longevity of your engine. If your car is overheating, it’s important to shut it off immediately and contact your dealer’s service department to have the problem checked out as soon as possible.
An engine that never fully heats up to standard operating temperatures (especially during the winter months) could also indicate a problem with your cooling system. Stuck thermostats and coolant loss – usually due to a leak – are two of the more frequent causes of both overheating and underheating issues. Signs that you could be leaking coolant or have a thermostat problem include dried green or yellow coolant spray in the engine bay, or the automobile’s heater blowing cool or cold air, no matter how long the vehicle has been running.
One of the best ways to keep your cooling system in top shape is to have it regularly inspected and maintained by the technicians at 5 Points Automotive. These individuals are specially trained to be able to detect any of the telltale signs that your car’s cooling system might require service.
What exactly do we look for when attempting to pinpoint a cooling system problem? According to the Automotive Service Association (ASA), there are a number of basic steps that can help diagnose any vehicle coolant issues. Technicians start with an engine’s coolant hoses, which can dry out and crack over time due to heat and vibration. The same can be said of an engine’s drive belts, which power important cooling system equipment like the water pump that circulates an antifreeze and water mixture throughout the motor. The thermostat needs to open and close properly, the vehicle’s fan blades need to spin freely without any bent or cracked blades and the fan clutch should not be loose, (which could indicate a worn bearing). An inspection of the radiator for any leaks when the system is pressurized is also usually performed.
In addition to these individual parts, the condition of the coolant fluid is critical to how a cooling system operates. As with most fluids, coolant can degrade over time and become less effective at regulating engine temperatures and inhibiting corrosion. It’s also critical to understand that all coolant isn’t created equal. Many manufacturers – especially those with diesel engines in their product mixes – require specific low-silicate glycol antifreeze that also requires the addition of specific additives. Nobody knows these requirements better than 5 Points Automotive Center. Rather than risking potentially catastrophic engine damage, visit us and have your coolant replaced with the correct formula and additives.
It is always a better idea to have your cooling system regularly inspected than to have to deal with unexpected component failures and other issues. Catching a problem before it causes equipment damage or failure is easy enough to do if you stick to the regular cooling system maintenance schedule as recommended in your vehicle’s owners manual.