Regular maintenance of a vehicle's cooling system is important to keep the vehicle running properly and to extend the life and efficiency of the engine. The cooling system includes the components: radiator, water pump, pressure cap, thermostat, fan, hoses, bypass system, heater core and reserve tank. These components optimal function is essential to protect the engine from overheating, damage and breakdowns. Therefore, it is extremely important that all the components of the cooling system are maintained and replaced when necessary.
Routine checks can help in maintaining the vehicle’s cooling system. Keeping the vehicle on a regular maintenance will ensure that the cooling system works properly. There are some inspections and tests that you can do yourself or you can take help of a mechanic to maintain your vehicle's cooling system.
Visual inspection of overall cooling system
The first thing you should do is to check all the components of the cooling system. Check hoses, belts and the radiator for damage and leaks. In case you notice the engine generates heat faster, there must be something wrong with the cooling mechanism and it needs maintenance.
Check the exterior of the radiator for leaks and corrosion, damaged tubes and clogged fins. Also, inspect head gasket regularly. You can identify blown out head gasket with signs of oily deposits inside the fill neck of radiator
Radiator pressure cap test
The radiator caps are a critical part of the cooling system and are prone to fatigue and wear, and this may lead to loss of pressure control. Therefore, check the radiator pressure cap for the recommended system pressure level at regular intervals.
Check thermostat if it is properly opening and closing
The thermostat controls the amount of coolant being released into the engine. It should open and allow coolant to pass once the engine is adequately heated. Sometimes thermostats can wear and they remain closed. A thermostat that is stuck in the closed position will result in poor circulation of coolant and this leads to overheating of the engine. It is important that the thermostat opens and closes to regulate the engine coolant temperature.
Pressure test to identify external leaks
You also need to check and identify any external leaks and damages to any of the components of the cooling system that include the water pump, radiator, engine coolant passages, heater hoses and heater core. If you suspect there is a problem with any of the components, replace it.
Internal leak test
When you find an internal leak in the cooling system, do an internal leak test by using a pressure tester to check if there is any combustion gas leakage into the cooling system. It is safe to perform a leak check when the vehicle is cold and the engine is switched off.
Engine cooling fan test
The cooling fan keeps the engine away from overheating. If the cooling fan stops working, the coolant will remain hot and this causes the engine to overheat. To make sure the cooling system is operating properly, conduct an engine cooling fan test.
Maintaining your vehicle's cooling system on a regular basis will keep your vehicle in a proper working condition.
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