Cooling System Maintenance & Repair

The engine’s cooling system helps the engine manage heat. Hot weather increases the thermal load on the engine’s cooling system and makes it work harder – especially when the air conditioner is also running. Operating temperatures go up and system pressures rise increasing the risk of failure among any weak parts in the system.

Lack of cooling system maintenance can lead to breakdowns

According to the AA, cooling system failures are one of the leading causes of vehicle breakdowns. Yet most breakdowns can be prevented by preventive maintenance. This includes:

Checking the coolant level regularly; Checking the concentration of the coolant; Checking the condition of the coolant; Checking for leaks; Changing conventional coolants every two years or 30,000 miles, or extended-life coolants every five years or 150,000 miles; Inspecting belts and hoses; Replacing any parts in your cooling system that are leaking or failing.

Among the items listed above, coolant leaks cause more problems than anything else. Most vehicles today have very little reserve cooling capacity. Radiators and coolant capacities have been shrunken to reduce weight (which helps fuel economy) and cost. Consequently, most vehicles cannot tolerate a coolant leak for very long before the engine starts to overheat. Overheating leads to boilover. It may also cause engine damage as parts swell up from the heat and start to seize and gall. Valve guides can be damaged, pistons can scuff, cylinder heads can crack and head gaskets can be crushed and fail as a result of overheating.

Overheating can also occur if the thermostat or water pump fails. The thermostat is a temperature-sensitive valve that regulates the operating temperature of the engine. It speeds engine warm up after a cold start and regulates the flow of coolant between the engine and radiator once the engine reaches normal temperature. The thermostat is usually located in a housing where the upper radiator hose connects to the engine.

 

How to prevent repeat cooling system failures

When you replace your water pump, you should also clean and flush your cooling system to remove contaminants. Cleaning with a chemical cleaner is especially important if the system contains rust and sediment. The cooling system and radiator cap should also be inspected and pressure tested to check for leaks. The system can then be refilled with a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and the type of antifreeze recommended by your vehicle manufacturer, or a compatible universal coolant.If your vehicle is older and has a pump-mounted mechanical belt-driven fan with a fan clutch, it’s a good idea to also replace the fan clutch if you are changing your water pump. A slipping fan clutch will reduce radiator cooling and may cause your engine to overheat. If you engine has overheated, you should also install a new thermostat. Excessive heat will often damage the thermostat.

If you would like Barrowford-MOT to service your cooling system, get in touch today!

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