Category Archives: Cooling System
Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your sedan engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the interstate in Boise waiting for your sedan engine to cool down.
When you service your cooling system at Napa AutoCare Boise, your service specialist will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your sedan owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.
If your engine overheated, your fr service professional will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the sedan radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need a diagnostic examination regularly. They can and do wear out.
The water pump is a critical component of your sedan cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your sedan cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.
There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your technician will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Napa AutoCare Boise is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Boise for 20 years.
Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Boise repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in Idaho.
At Napa AutoCare Boise, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.
Engines get hot when they run. This heat can build up and damage vital engine parts, so engines need a cooling system to keep them running. Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles. This is unfortunate, because these failures are usually easy for Boise motorists to prevent.
The radiator is the best-known and most recognizable part of the cooling system. Hoses filled with coolant (also known as antifreeze) connect the radiator to the engine. The coolant draws heat from the engine, and then flows to the radiator. Air passing through cooling fins on the radiator cools the coolant. The coolant then cycles back into the engine to start the process over again.
The most critical component of the cooling system, however, is the coolant itself. A mixture of water and coolant/antifreeze helps keep it both from freezing and from boiling away. Either can result in serious engine damage.
Different engines require different types of coolant/antifreeze. The owner’s manual will list what kind a vehicle requires. Using the wrong type or mixing different types of may void the warranty on the cooling system and may damage it as well.
Insufficient coolant can lead to engine failure. Coolant levels need to be checked regularly and topped off as necessary. If coolant levels drop quickly or consistently, the cooling system should be inspected for leaks. Coolant/antifreeze contains additives that protect the radiator and other coolant components from rust, scale and corrosion. Over time, these additives are depleted, so it is necessary for Boise car owners to replace coolant at specified intervals. Changing coolant should be part of routine preventive maintenance for any vehicle.
This service is often ignored, though, since old coolant still cools the engine. Vehicle owners don’t realize there is a problem until the system fails. They are left with major repairs and possibly a damaged engine, which could have been prevented with a cooling system service at Napa AutoCare Boise in Boise.
If your sedan sends a warning message to check its coolant or if the temperature gauge is reading in the red or hot zone, then the cooling system needs an inspection. This service is key and should not be put off since the potential for damage is high.
In an emergency situation, water or antifreeze can be added to your sedan so that it can be driven to a service center for proper car care. For this reason, owner’s manual contains instructions for how to top off insufficient coolant – allow 45 minutes for the engine to cool before attempting to add coolant or water. However, the fluid should be added to the coolant overflow bottle, not to the radiator itself. Removing the radiator pressure cap can result in severe burns.
Topping off in an emergency, however, does not fix the problem. The vehicle should immediately be taken to your Boise service center or Napa AutoCare Boise where they can inspect the cooling system, repair any leaks, and clean it if necessary. They can identify what caused the emergency situation in the first place and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Regular maintenance of a vehicle’s cooling system is just good auto advice for Boise motorists. Cooling system service is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take long at Napa AutoCare Boise. Lack of it, however, can put a vehicle in the scrap heap.
Talk to your Napa AutoCare Boise tech for more information.
The cooling system keeps Idaho car owners’s engines from overheating while they are driving around Boise, Meridian and Garden City. Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let’s talk about the various components of the system and how they make this happen.
The radiator is the part most Boise auto owners associate with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there’s enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the sedan is idling.
In some sedans, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your sedan off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature.
A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. The water pump pushes the water into the sedan engine block. Now the engine block and cylinder heads have passages for the coolant to pass through without getting into the oil or the combustion chamber. In the automotive community, these passages are referred to as the “water jacket”.
While the coolant is passing through the water jacket, it absorbs heat from the sedan engine on its way to the radiator for cooling. Between the engine and the radiator is a gatekeeper called the thermostat. The thermostat’s job is to regulate the temperature of the engine just like your home thermostat regulates the temperature in your Boise house. It gets your engine up to the correct operating temperature and then keeps it from overheating.
When you first start the engine, it’s very cold and needs to warm up. So the thermostat blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator. As the engine warms up, the thermostat starts to let coolant flow through the system.
The final component the team at Napa AutoCare Boise wants to point out is the overflow reservoir. This bottle is designed to hold some of the coolant. It’ll have a mark that indicates whether or not you have enough coolant. This is where you should add coolant if you just need to top it off.
Caution: never open the reservoir or the radiator cap when the car’s hot. The cooling system is pressurized and opening them while it’s hot can cause hot coolant and steam to escape resulting in serious burns.
Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles around Boise, Idaho. At Napa AutoCare Boise, we can do a periodic inspection of the components for leaks, loose connections and weakening hoses.
Napa AutoCare Boise
4338 W. Chinden Blvd
Boise, Idaho 83714
Your manufacturer has also specified a cooling system service interval. With a cooling system service, the old coolant is replaced with correct clean fluid that contains the additives required to prevent corrosion. The additives are depleted over time and you need fresh fluid for adequate protection. Your radiator pressure cap should be replaced at this service as well.
Today we want to talk about a very important system in our cars – the cooling system. It’s one of those things that you don’t give much thought to until it fails and then you’re stranded by the side of the road.
Cooling systems fail more often than any other mechanical system – usually because of neglect. Don’t you hate it when something breaks, and you could have done something to prevent it?
The good news is that if you take care of your cooling system it can keep working for the life of your car.
Here at AutoNetTV, we emphasize preventive maintenance services like replacing your coolant according to the factory schedule. But the various parts that make up the cooling system need attention too. The major components of the cooling system are the water pump, freeze plugs, the thermostat, the radiator, cooling fans, the heater core, the pressure cap, the overflow tank and the hoses.
It sounds complicated, but we don’t have to be experts – we can leave that to our fr service technicians at Napa AutoCare Boise. But, having an overview will help us remember to take care of our cooling systems.
Most people would be surprised to know that burning fuel in your engine produces up to 4,500 degrees of heat. And all that heat has to be dealt with. If the heat can’t be drawn off the engine, the pistons will literally weld themselves to the inside of the cylinders – then you just have to throw the engine away and get a new one. That would cost thousands of dollars.
Now the water pump is what forces the coolant through passages in the engine to absorb heat. The pump is driven by a belt that needs replacement from time to time. And the water pump will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Spending some money on replacing the belts and water pump is much less than the cost of repairing the massive damage that can be done when an engine seizes.
There’s another little part of the coolant system that protects the engine. It’s called a freeze plug. If you remember from high school chemistry, water expands when it freezes. In very cold areas, the coolant can actually freeze when the vehicle is left sitting.
It is hard to believe, but the expanding frozen coolant can actually crack the engine block. The freeze plugs fit into the engine block. They fit tight enough to withstand the pressure of a running engine, but can expand or pop out if the coolant freezes. These little things save a lot of engine blocks.
That brings up a good point. An engine has to work in all kinds of temperatures – extremely hot as well as very cold. How does the cooling system adapt to external temperatures as well as varying operating conditions?
Well, it’s much like the way you keep your house at a comfortable temperature all year round – with a thermostat. The thermostat in your car controls how much coolant flows through your engine. When the engine is cold, it restricts coolant flow until the engine comes up to an efficient operating temperature. Then it starts opening up to move more coolant to keep the temperature within a specified range.
The thermostat needs to be replaced from time to time as well. It’s easy to diagnose a failed thermostat and is fairly inexpensive to replace. We can do this for you at Napa AutoCare Boise in Boise, just give us a call: 208-323-9292. Now we’ve been talking about all this heat we’ve got to get rid of, but haven’t really talked about where it goes. That’s where the radiator comes in. The hot coolant passes through the radiator. Air flows past the cooling fins and cools the coolant.
The radiator has two tanks that hold coolant: sometimes one the top and bottom or one on either side. If you have an automatic transmission, one of the tanks will also contain a second tank that cools the transmission fluid. Large SUV’s and trucks often have a separate transmission cooler. So when you drive around Boise, the air is forced past the radiator. But driving doesn’t produce enough air flow. So the radiator has cooling fans that force fresh air over the radiator. These fans may be powered by a belt or by electric motors.
Now, you also have something called a heater core. The heater core is like a mini radiator. A small fan blows air over the heater core and into the passenger compartment of your vehicle. That’s how you warm your car when it’s cold out.
Next is the radiator cap. With most newer cars around Boise, you never remove the radiator cap, except to replace it. You add coolant through the overflow tank. The radiator cap is also called a pressure cap, because its job is to maintain pressure in the cooling system.
High pressure raises the boiling point of the coolant, so it cools more effectively even in very demanding conditions. That is why you need to replace the cap from time to time. They recommend changing it out every time you replace your coolant.
Coming back to the overflow tank, it is needed because when the coolant gets hot it expands and the overflow holds the extra volume. The tank helps maintain the proper level of coolant and keeps air out of the system. You should never open the radiator cap or over flow tank when the engine is hot. This could lead to serious burns.
What else do we need to do to keep our cooling systems working well? Well, there are the hoses that hook all of these pieces together. They’re obviously very tough to deal with the pressure and high temperatures. But they do get worn. Sometimes they get spongy from the heat. Sometimes they lose their connection to the radiator, water pump, etc. It’s a great idea to have your Boise service center inspect your hoses at least once a year and replace them, if needed, before they break.
Napa AutoCare Boise can help you check your cooling system and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. Give us a call at 208-323-9292.