We’re often asked questions about the cooling system – the system that cools your engine and keeps it at the proper operating temperature. Let’s examine the topic in two areas: first the coolant itself and second, the parts that make up the cooling system.
The coolant is the mix of water and antifreeze that circulates through the engine to draw off heat. First, you need to have the proper amount. If you don’t have enough coolant it can’t keep your engine cool.
You also need the right kind of coolant. Different makes of vehicles require different coolant formulation to protect against corrosion.
Finally, your coolant needs to be fresh. Over time and miles, the anti-corrosion additives in the coolant are depleted and the coolant can start to eat away at the cooling system parts. Your owner’s manual and your service adviser can help you with the recommended coolant replacement schedule and make sure you’re getting the right type of coolant.
Now let’s talk about the cooling system components. These will all eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Starting with the radiator, we see them coming into the shop with leaks or clogged with deposits. Depending on the damage, we will clean, repair or replace. We also see radiator pressure caps that can no longer hold the proper pressure. We recommend replacing pressure caps when you change your coolant to avoid this problem. We see leaky water pumps and hoses that need to be replaced. There’s also a part called the thermostat that opens and closes to regulate the flow of coolant. Sometimes they stick open or closed and the cooling system won’t work properly.
Engine damage from overheating can be very expensive to fix so it’s important to maintain your cooling system properly with scheduled coolant replacement and periodic inspections of the cooling system. Ask your service advisor next time you're in for service "Can you inspect my cooling system please"