7-Point Preventative Cooling System Maintenance Program
A car's engine generates enough heat to destroy itself. The cooling system, however, protects against damage by keeping the engine within the correct operating temperature range. That's why preventative cooling system maintenance is essential in helping to ensure you engine's life.
NARSA - The International Heat Transfer Association recommends that motorists have a seven-point preventative cooling system maintenance check at least once every two years. The seven-point program is designed to identify any areas that need attention. It consists of:
- a radiator pressure cap test to check for the recommended system pressure level
- a thermostat check for proper opening and closing
- a pressure test to identify any external leaks to the cooling system parts; including the radiator, water pump, engine coolant passages, radiator and heater hoses and heater core
- an internal leak test to check for combustion gas leakage into the cooling system
- a visual inspection of all cooling system components, including belts and hoses
- a system power flush and refill with car manufacture's recommended concentration of coolant
- an engine fan test for proper operation
By performing regular checks, radiator and cooling system specialists can help motorists prevent problems, emergency repairs and/or replacements, effectively saving the consumer time, trouble and money.
5 Most Common Radiator Service Procedures
Flush and Repair. The radiator is removed from the vehicle, cleaned externally using a powerful spray gun and flushed internally. It is then pressure tested, inspected and repaired as needed.
Clean and Repair. In this procedure the radiator is removed from the vehicle, cleaned externally and flushed internally by immersion in a specially formulated industrial-strength cleaner. It is then flushed a second time, pressure tested, inspected and repaired as needed.
Rod-out and Repair. The radiator is removed, cleaned externally and flushed internally by immersion. It is then pressure tested, inspected and repaired as needed. One tank is removed and a rod is inserted into each tube to remove debris. Once complete, the radiator is reassembled and tested.
New Core or Recore. This technique brings a radiator up to or as close as possible to its original operating condition by using restored existing parts in combination with new, rebuilt or unimpaired parts. It always requires the installation of a new core.
Plastic Radiator Tank and Gasket Replacements. In this procedure the radiator is removed from the vehicle and placed in a special fixture to detach the damaged tank and/or gasket. The tank and/or gasket is replaced with a readily available new or restored part. Afterward, the radiator is reassembled and tested.
An Auto Radiator Repair Mechanic Can:
- test your radiator pressure cap, ensuring it can keep the system at the proper pressure level
- check your thermostat, making sure it performs correctly
- do a pressure test, checking for any leaks in parts like the radiator itself, the water pump, any of the engine coolant passages, hoses or the heater core
- do an internal leak test, seeing if any combustion gas from the engine compartment is leaking into the cooling system
- visually inspect all the hoses and belts related to the cooling system
- power flush the whole thing and refill your coolant to the proper level
- test the engine fan for proper operation
High Incidence of Cooling System Trouble In Older Vehicles.
Vehicles five years and older are prime candidates for cooling system troubles, troubles that could strike when least expected. Cooling system service is most frequent on vehicles with more than 50,000 miles. However, experts note that the mileage on a vehicle is not as big a factor in the maintenance of a cooling system as is the vehicle's age.
An aging vehicle has been exposed over time to environmental factors that can harm a car's cooling system. Salt from ocean air, road salt, debris and other chemicals tend to break down the metal in a radiator core.
The radiator, an integral part of the cooling system, is designed to protect an engine from the destructive forces of too much heat. Heat is produced every time a vehicle is driven. That's why it is so important to have your car's cooling system, especially the radiator, checked at least once every two years.
Radiator and cooling system specialists offer a variety of services, including flushing out radiator and cooling system, repairing leaks and other damage to copper/brass and aluminum/plastic radiators, checking thermostats and fixing broken hoses or cracked belts. They can check for corrosion and debris and often may spot and address potential problems, helping to prevent emergency car repairs down the road.
Tips for Keeping Your Vehicle Cool While Sitting In Traffic
A vehicle's cooling system is designed to protect the engine from the destructive forces of too much heat. If the system isn't in good repair, simple tasks such as sitting idle in rush-hour traffic can cause a vehicle to overheat even when temperatures drop below the freezing mark.
However, if you do get caught in traffic and you notice the temperature gauge beginning to rise, there are some things you can try to keep your vehicle from overheating.
- Give it a little gas. This will enable the vehicle to get rid of some to the engine heat.
- Turn on the heater. The heater will draw some of the heat from the engine to the inside of the vehicle.
- Turn off the vehicle. Once you safely have pulled off of the road, turn off the vehicle to let the engine cool down.
- Finally, have your vehicle inspected by a radiator specialist. Radiator specialists have expertise in targeting cooling system problems, which could range from a clogged radiator core to low engine coolant to an inoperable engine fan.