It’s the start of the new month and time to focus on another preventative maintenance service. As temperatures drop and winter approaches i think it’s a good time to take a look at the cooling system service. Let’s answer a few common questions about engine cooling system’s and cooling system service procedures.
How does my Cooling System work?
Your vehicles cooling system is designed to keep your engine temperature at a level that is the most efficient for engine operation. This is done by circulating engine coolant in a sealed and pressurized system and controlling the flow with a thermostat. Your cooling system also transfers heat into the cab of your vehicle to keep you warm and your windshield clear during cold weather driving.
Engine coolant is designed to:
- Transfer heat from your engine
- Prevent your cooling system from freezing in cold weather
- Raise the boiling point to prevent overheating in hot or demanding driving conditions
- Provide corrosion protection to your engine’s internal components
Your cooling system relies on many on many other internal and external parts to keep your engine cool, such as:
- Water Pump
- Drive belts
- Drive belt tensioner
- Transmission cooler
- Engine oil cooler
- Heater core
- Coolant hoses
- Radiator cap
- Cooling fan system
Regular inspection and service of your engine cooling system mechanical parts and coolant is needed to keep your engine running cool and efficiently. Neglecting your cooling system can lead to poor fuel mileage and even major engine damage.
How often do I need a Cooling System Service?
Most coolant is good for 3 years and some long life coolant is good for 5 years. You need to find out what you have in your vehicle and have your cooling system serviced accordingly. If your car is over 5 years old and you haven’t had a cooling system service yet than your probably already overdue for a Cooling System Service.
Why do I need a Cooling System Service?
Many of the additives in your coolant are corrosion inhibitors. Your coolant additives lose their ability to work in 3-5 years. When glycol (the main ingredient in most coolants) comes in contact with oxygen at 80-110 ºC (the operating temperature of most engines) it generates glycollic acid. This acid can eat away at the inside of your cooling system and can cause many costly problems. Also all of that rust circulates throughout your cooling system begins plugging it up, reducing interior heating and engine cooling performance.
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What is a Cooling System Service?
- Contaminated coolant is removed from cooling system and replaced with new fluid.
- External engine cooling system components are inspected for damage, leakage and wear.
What can happen if I don’t get a Cooling System Service?
- Your coolant can become acidic and eat away at the inside of your engine causing major internal engine damage and costly repairs.
- Your coolant can turn to sludge and plug internal passages causing you to lose heat in the passenger compartment and /or inefficient cooling system performance.
- Your cooling system may develop a leak causing your engine to overheat due to a low coolant level.
- Your engine may run outside of the optimal engine operating temperature causing reduced fuel efficiency and increased tailpipe emissions.
As you can see having your Cooling System Serviced is a wise investment for any vehicle owner. There’s allot going on under your hood as you make your way down the road, and just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Even though you may not see any direct effects for your investment in a Cooling System Service, you can feel good knowing you are extending the life of your vehicle and reducing your personal carbon footprint. I would say that’s a pretty good return on investment, wouldn’t you?
Due to the wide range of vehicles makes and models, this is general information and should not be taken as specific to any vehicle. Please consult manufacturer specifications for the correct specifications and repair procedures for your vehicle. This information is meant to be used as a guideline only.