Did you know that the vehicle heating and cooling system is the most common cause of mechanical breakdowns on the road? The cause – overheating. And that overheating will then lead to severe damage to the engine and transmission!
Coolant (also termed anti-freeze) protects your engine from overheating and from freezing. The coolants effectiveness can diminish over time and lose many of its protective properties even causing your radiator to rust and corrode. The cooling system itself can get clogged with built-up deposits from oil, grease, scale, hose decomposition, and other materials.
Most drivers know it’s recommended that a vehicle’s oil should be changed about every 3,000 miles. Drivers typically know less about proper intervals for their vehicle’s other vital fluids. For the cooling system, the coolant/antifreeze manufacturers recommend changing the coolant once a year and some service manuals stipulate flushing and refilling the radiator every 24 months, regardless of mileage. Check your car’s owner manual to see the recommended interval for changing the coolant in your vehicle, but you’ll want to get it changed at minimum every 24 months or if you have any of the following symptoms:
Your vehicle overheats
Your coolant or temperature light comes on
Your dash boards’ temperature gauge reads higher or lower than normal
Your heater does not work
Most cars today have a pressurized cooling system that increases the boiling temperature of water by about 45 F (25 C) and allow the engine to run at a high temperature of 268 F. Any leak within the car’s cooling system will remove this pressure causing the water to boil at 212 F (100 C) far below the running temperature of any engine. This causes the boil over.
Today’s cars operate in a wide variety of temperatures, from well below freezing to well over 100 F so whatever fluid that is used in the car’s cooling system has to have a very low freezing point and also a very high boiling point.
Although water is one of the most effective fluids for holding heat, water freezes at too high a temperature to be used in car engines. Therefore the fluid that most cars use is a mixture of water and ethylene glycol also known as antifreeze. By adding ethylene glycol to water, the boiling and freezing points are improved significantly.
The engine’s operating temperature of coolant will reach 250 F to 275 F after 5 minutes of driving. Even with ethylene glycol added, these temperatures would boil the coolant, so something additional must be done to raise its boiling point and this is adding pressure to the radiator cooling system.
The Radiator Cooling System
The radiator cooling system in your car has a lot of plumbing and many locations or parts to leak. It functions by having the water pump draws radiator fluid from the radiator and sends it into the car’s engine block, where it makes its way through passages in the engine. It returns through the engine’s cylinder head to the radiator for cooling. The car’s thermostat is located where the fluid leaves the engine and the plumbing (hoses) around the thermostat sends the fluid back to the pump directly if the thermostat is closed. If the thermostat is open, the fluid goes through the radiator first and then back to the pump.
There is also a separate plumbing for the car’s interior heating system where it takes fluid from the cylinder head, passes it through a heater core under the dashboard of the car and then returns it back to the water pump.
Radiator, Thermostat and Heater Services
The certified technicians have years of experience in working with radiators, thermostats and the complete cooling system, due to the cooling systems critical impact on proper transmission operation. Any of the following signs could indicate your vehicle needs service or repairs to the cooling system:
The vehicle is running hot or overheating
Leaking of a green or red fluid
Belts or hoses that have not been replaced during the past 4 years.
The following are major areas or components to check:
Engine Head Cooling – Head Gasket
Engine Block Cooling – Freeze Plugs
Car Interior Heater Valve
Car Interior Heater Core
Car Interior Heater Fan
If you’re having any radiator, cooling or heating issues give us a call today. Or if you just want to give your vehicle a check up to make sure the number 1 reason for vehicles breaking down on the side of the road does not happen to you.