What Is Involved with Cooling System Maintenance?
Vehicles are intricate pieces of machinery that have a number of parts working together to create the performance and reliability you have come to love. Properly maintaining your vehicle helps extend its lifespan by ensuring all essential parts are working as they should.
The last thing you want is to experience a sudden breakdown in the middle of a long trip, especially if you don’t have an emergency kit on hand. While preventative maintenance can reduce the chances of this happening, there are some components that need to be cared for more often than others. One example of this is your vehicle’s cooling system.
Before diving into why this maintenance is important and what it involves, it’s necessary to look at what exactly this system encompasses.
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What Is the Cooling System?
As you drive, your engine uses internal combustion to give your vehicle power. Small, controlled explosions convert gasoline into motion constantly. Naturally, this results in your engine temperature getting hot quickly. This is where the cooling system comes into play.
In short, the cooling system serves to transfer heat, resulting from the controlled explosions, away from the engine. This allows the temperature of the engine to be regulated and prevents overheating.
The cooling system accomplishes this goal by circulating a liquid called coolant using coolant hoses. As this liquid passes over your engine, the coolant absorbs some of the heat and moves to the radiator, where cool air being sucked in through the grill of your car cools the liquid down.
From here, it circles back to the engine and continues this loop constantly. There is also a thermostat unit which, if detecting the coolant is not hot enough, will divert the coolant back to the engine to absorb more heat.
This entire system is pressurized and helps to maintain perfect engine temperatures within your vehicle that optimize performance and prevent problems. Basic car maintenance involves keeping this system functioning as intended.
Why Is Maintenance Necessary?
Your cooling system relies on a number of parts working together cohesively and, should one of those parts fail, the entire system could be compromised. This is why essential car maintenance should be at the top of a to-do list throughout the year.
Here are a few common problems you may face if you do not keep your cooling system properly maintained:
- Overheating engine
- Leaking or dirty coolant
- Contaminated exhaust smoke
As mentioned, your cooling system spreads throughout the hood of your car and covers areas from the engine to the radiator. From a pump, thermometer, fan, gaskets, coolant itself, and much more, there are many parts that can have problems within this system.
Continuing to drive without properly maintaining your cooling system can negatively impact your vehicle’s overall performance and health. To avoid experiencing a breakdown in the near future, visit your trusted mechanic to perform maintenance.
The Ins and Outs of Cooling System Maintenance
In general, changing your coolant is recommended to do every two years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you’re unsure, then our experts suggest checking your owner’s manual to ensure you’re on schedule with all your to-dos. When checking the current state of your cooling system, look for the following:
- Coolant levels will be checked and topped off
- If needed, the cooling system will be drained and flushed, followed by a new coolant being added to the system
- Inspection of the serpentine belt for wear and tear
- Check radiator belts and hoses for signs of aging and make replacements as necessary
Inspecting all of these items on a yearly basis prevents sudden part failure, and can help you save on repairs—especially if you don’t have the proper extended car warranty in place. Your trusted mechanic will alert you to any issues they notice under the hood and recommend a solution.
When experiencing harsher weather conditions, it’s doubly important to have your cooling system inspected. Your coolant is made up of a finely tuned antifreeze to distilled water ratio that lowers freezing temperatures. Having an improper antifreeze to water ratio when temperatures drop can cause problems with the coolant. Mechanics may test this ratio and make adjustments if needed.
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If there’s one thing you can expect as a vehicle owner, it’s the unexpected and breakdowns can be expensive. Although preventative maintenance reduces the chances of part failure, vehicles are sitting idle for longer which heightens the chances of a costly repair from popping up. With an extended warranty, you’re protected from both car repairs, and now maintenance with our news protection plan—EnduranceAdvantage™.
Whether you know it or not, maintenance can quickly add up. The average driver spends between $2,325 to $3,263 on maintenance every 5 years, not including costly repairs and insurance. EnduranceAdvantage™ offers up to $3,500 in maintenance coverage, including oil and filter changes, brake pad and wiper replacements, and more.
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