The warmest parts of summer and the coolest parts of winter are when your car's cooling system is working its hardest to keep the engine running at proper temperatures. In the excess summer heat and humidity, overheating is always a concern.
The cooling system is made up of multiple vital components, including the radiator, radiator fluid (coolant), water pump, fan, thermostat, heater core, cooling jacket and various hoses that transfer the coolant throughout the system. This complex system is what keeps your engine from getting too hot. If anything is loose, damaged or not working properly, you will start to experience overheating problems and it could do serious damage to your engine.
This is why cooling system maintenance and monitoring are so important, especially this time of year. Here are a few summer cooling system tips from Fox Run Auto:
1. Check the Coolant Levels
When your engine is completely cooled down, you can check the radiator fluid levels. Make sure the fluid looks clean and is at the desired fill level. If the fluid is full, but dirty or burnt, then you may want to get your cooling system serviced soon. If the fluid is clean, but low, you can top off the fluid (and also consider tip #2 below). Just make sure you are using the proper coolant-to-water ratio. Many over the counter coolants are pre-mixed.
2. Check for Coolant Leaks
If you notice radiator coolant leaking underneath your car, or if your fluid level is suspiciously low, it is something to be concerned about. It may just be a minor problem like a weak hose or loose fitting, or it could be something much more significant like a cracked radiator. Get it checked out by an automotive expert as soon as possible if any coolant leaks are evident.
3. Monitor the Temperature Gauge
All vehicles make it easy to keep an eye on the running temperature of the engine. If yours is a bit hotter than usual when you are driving, watch the gauge carefully. At the first sign of overheating, pull over and let the engine completely cool down before driving again. If the problem persists, let your mechanic figure out what the problem is. Most modern vehicles have very complex and sensitive cooling system sensors that will let you know of issues early on. Don't ignore the warnings or you may regret it later if things get much worse.
4. Check the Oil Level
Though the engine oil isn't necessarily part of the cooling system, it plays a vital role in keeping your engine properly lubricated and running smoothly. You can check your oil level often and get your vehicle serviced at regular intervals to keep it healthy.
5. Examine the Fan and Hoses
When the vehicle is completely cooled down, you can perform a basic inspection of the engine fan and cooling system hoses. Look for leaks, cracks or loose fittings. These are plastic and rubber components that can wear down with time, but they will cause problems if damage occurs.
It's a good idea to get your cooling system checked out with each maintenance visit. A good mechanic will check all the fluid levels, running temperatures and other issues to make sure your vehicle is running right.
If you are in Northern Delaware and worried about your cooling system or just want to come in for a general automotive inspection or oil change, contact Fox Run Auto today at (302) 597-9205 or schedule your service appointment online.