Vehicle Cooling System

How your vehicles cooling system works

An internal combustion engine produces a lot of heat. If this heat wasn’t removed from the engine, it would result in catastrophic failure.

The cooling system in your vehicle is responsible for removing this heat. It does this by moving coolant (a mixture of anti-corrosives, anti-freeze and water) through passage ways within the engine.

A simple explanation:

As the the coolant moves through these passages it removes heat from the engine, through conduction. The coolant is then moved to a radiator, which moves the heat from the coolant into the air. This also the coolant to drop in temperature before returning to the engine.

The radiator uses air from the movement of the vehicle or a cooling fan when needed.

How coolant is moved through the system:

Coolant is moved through your vehicles cooling system by a water pump. This pump is driven by the engine. Depending on your vehicle it may be driven by the timing belt or a drive or serpentine belt.

Your cooling system is under pressure:

The coolant in your vehicles cooling system would boil away if it wasn’t contained in a closed system. This system keeps the coolant under pressure, once the vehicle begins to heat up. This raises the boiling point of the coolant.

Your engine provides you with heat too:

Coolant is also moved through a heater core. This is basically a small radiator that provides your vehicles passenger compartment with heat.

Keep things at the right temperature:

A vehicle running too hot or too cold can experience poor performance. Your vehicle uses a thermostat to keep your vehicle at the proper temperature.

Vehicle Cooling System Problems

Your vehicles cooling system is crucial to keeping your vehicle running. Unfortunately it is often overlooked until there is a major problem.

My car is overheating”

If your vehicle is overheating, this is a major concern. Overheating an engine can result in severe damage to the engine. If your vehicle is overheating, you should turn your heat on, with blower all the way up. You should make sure your A/C is turned off. If your car continues to overheat, pull over and turn the vehicle off.

Odds are you will need a tow, instead of risking damage to your vehicles engine.

What can cause my car to overheat?
The most common causes would be:

  • Failed or faulty cooling fan
  • Low coolant do to a leak
  • Radiator cap is not holding pressure
  • Thermostat failed or faulty
  • Failed or faulty water pump
  • Clogged radiator
  • Failed head gasket.

My car is leaking coolant”

Leaking coolant is a common complaint, especially on higher-mileage vehicles. Common causes damaged radiator or heater hoses, plastic housings or water pumps.

Taking a look under the hood you can usually spot most common coolant leaks. Replacing or repairing the component is always the recommended course of action. Stop leak additives only offer temporary fixes and come with there only potential risks.

My car wont warm up” or “My car doesn’t have heat

If your vehicle isn’t providing heat to interior of the vehicle you should start by checking to see if your vehicles temperature gauge reads correctly once the vehicle is warmed up. If the vehicles temperature gauge doesn’t reach operating temperature (or your vehicle doesn’t have a temperature gauge) check your coolant level first. if your vehicle is low on coolant top off the with the appropriate coolant and see if there is a change.

If your coolant level is low, it is a good idea to inspect for leaks.

If the coolant level is correct

cooling system

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