Have you noticed that a temperature gauge in your car is showing too high values in some situations? Or maybe there are puddles of water-like liquid appearing under the car when you leave it parked on your driveway. Both of these symptoms are warning signs of a potential cooling system issue and require immediate attention. Ignore them for a long time, and you may end up with a damaged engine and a hefty repair bill. In this article, we will explain how the cooling system works and learn how to spot any issues.
How does this system work?
The cooling system in any car transfers excess heat from the engine and keeps it within a proper temperature range. It must cool the engine enough to prevent damage while keeping the engine warm enough for efficient operation. Cooling systems in most modern cars have a similar configuration and same components. Inside the engine, there is a water pump that ensures there is a sufficient flow through the engine. On the outside, there is a radiator that transfers the excessive heat from the coolant to the atmosphere. A series of pipes and rubber hoses connect the engine to the radiator and enable unobstructed coolant flow. There is also a thermostat that controls coolant flow to ensure optimum running temperatures at all times.
What are the symptoms of cooling system issues?
Depending on the component that is causing the issue, you may experience different symptoms with your car. A radiator that is dirty or clogged will not have enough capacity to take away the heat from the coolant. As a result, the engine will run at higher temperatures and may even overheat when driving under heavy load. The similar will happen if the water pump is worn, as it cannot generate sufficient flow. Various leaks are another common issue, which can lead to overheating if the coolant level drops too low. Thermostat itself can get stuck and unable to regulate the flow. Depending on the position, this will cause either overheating or low running temperatures.
Can I fix the cooling system myself?
As several components can cause identical symptoms, tracking down the source of the issue can be tricky. Most times, this may take a fair amount of experience and a methodical approach. Even when you find out what is the problem, there are components that may be hard to reach. Thermostats and some coolant hoses may be hidden behind the intake manifold or other engine components. And on some cars, you will need to remove the timing belt to remove the coolant pump. All this requires various special tools and equipment, together with a fair amount of skill.
How important is this service?
As we have explained in this article, diagnosing and repairing coolant systems requires skill and expertise. If you don’t have the right tools or don’t feel up to the job, consider hiring a professional. At FixMyCar, we have certified and seasoned technicians that can come to your home and solve all cooling system related issues. This will ensure all important components are checked and that your car is ready to hit the road.