Help Your Car Keep Its Cool - Cooling System Check Help Your Car Keep Its Cool - Cooling System Check
Unfortunately, many motorists wait until the first severe cold snap or the hottest day of the year before paying attention to their cars' cooling system.
This often results in "crisis repairs" rather than preventive maintenance. The following tips from Automotive Cooling System Institute help avoid car trouble.
Cooling System "Tune-Up" Checklist
- Flush dirt, bugs and leaves from front of radiator with a brush and garden hose
- Inspect the radiator cap. Replace it if the rubber gasket is broken, dried out, or missing
- Check the condition and level of coolant. If it is rusty, clean the system and replace with a 50/50 mixture of water and ethylene glycol anti-freeze
- Inspect radiator and radiator hoses for leaks, cracks or soft, mushy condition. Tighten all clamps. Replace hoses as needed
- Look for the heater hose running from the engine, through the fire wall, to the heater core under the dash. Replace swollen or cracked hoses. To check the hoses, start the engine and turn on the heater. If after ten minutes the hoses are cool, they could be clogged
- Inspect all engine belts for wear and cracks. Replace if worn, cracked or glazed. Adjust loose belts. Note: Some engines have a V-ribbed belt that drives some or all of the accessories. If the belt grooves show excessive cracks or "chunking", replace the belt
- Check the thermostat operation by running the engine for 10-15 minutes. Generally, it's OK if you can feel warm coolant surging through the upper hose. Beware of an engine that runs too hot or too cool. Tighten loose bolts on the thermostat housing at the engine
- Clean the engine exterior. Excessive oil and dirt will hide leaks, or insulate the engine, causing it to run hot