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Oct 19, 2015

5 Ways To Maintain Your Car’s Cooling System

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The internal combustion engine in your car creates friction. Even when using top motor oils that help to minimise friction so the internal components glide smoothly past one another with as little resistance as possible, the engine still generates huge amounts of friction, which translates to heat. Excess heat can be very damaging to your engine, which is why your engine’s cooling system should be working efficiently at all times.

Maintaining Car’s Cooling System

A vehicle’s cooling system comprises a number of components including a fan, thermostat, water pump, sensors, radiator, overflow tank, water, coolant, hoses, clamps, and a series of belts that connect to each other to ensure that the engine does not overheat. The system operates by directing the cooling fluid (a mixture of water and coolant) past extremely hot parts of the engine (namely the cylinder heads and valves) and passing that fluid through a heat exchanger (radiator) where the heat is dissipated into the cooler atmosphere, before the cycle begins again.

The following tips can help you keep your car’s cooling system running efficiently:

  • Only use the coolant recommended by your auto manufacturer: Considering that you use your car in a wide range of ambient temperatures, from below freezing to over 100 degrees F, the coolant that you use must have a very low freezing point and an equally high boiling point, and have great ability to transfer heat.
  • Maintain the right coolant/antifreeze and water mixture: This is necessary to reduce the likelihood of your engine overheating or freezing, as well as to prevent rust and corrosion within the cooling system by maintaining the right amount of vital additives.
  • Keep the cooling system pressurised: The temperature of the cooling fluid usually reaches 121 to 135 degrees Celsius (250 degrees to 275 degrees F), and to keep it from boiling, the pressure inside the system should stay at around 14 – 15 pounds per square inch (psi). This pressure increases the coolants boiling point by around 45 degrees F (32 degrees Celsius), so check the pressure-sealing ability of your radiator cap periodically.
  • Periodically flush the radiator: Over time, dirt and sludge tend to accumulate within the cooling system, reducing the effective of your cooling fluid, and the life of your water pump, radiator, and the engine itself.
  • Perform a full inspection of your car’s cooling system, including the coolant level and condition; and the radiator and heater hoses for cracking, splitting, or bulging; and the state of the V or serpentine belt in older vehicles and timing belt/chain in newer vehicles.

In general, check the coolant level monthly and refill with a 50/50 solution of antifreeze and water as required, replace worn belts, and never remove the radiator pressure cap when the engine is still hot.


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