Your car relies on an efficient cooling system to keep heat from the engine under control. Without continuous cooling, heat in the engine will soon build up, with potentially devastating effects for many of the car's delicate parts. A robust approach to maintenance and repair is vital, but some car owners make serious errors. Find out about four of the most common ones here.
Your car's cooling system relies on a continuous flow of water, but this isn't enough without anti-freeze. Anti-freeze is not just there to stop the water freezing in cold weather. This chemical also stops the water boiling in high temperatures, so this chemical ingredient is as vital for an Australian driver as anyone else.
Over time, water escapes from the cooling system, so you need to regularly check and replace lost fluids. Nonetheless, it isn't enough to just top up the system with plain water. The fluid in your cooling system should maintain a coolant level of around 50 percent. An excessive concentration of untreated water can result in burst radiators and hoses, which will leave you with a significant repair bill.
Installing the wrong parts
The car's cooling system features many parts, some of which are relatively cheap and easy to replace. Nonetheless, it's important to replace these parts with spares that meet the manufacturer's specification. If you install parts that don't fit properly, you could cause other, more serious problems.
For example, hose clamps make sure the hoses in your car's cooling system stay firmly in place. Clamps can easily corrode, but replacements come in all shapes and size. If the clamp fits properly, the hose will work with even pressure from all sides. Without this balance, pressure can build up, which, in turn, could damage the radiator and other parts.
Failure to conduct post-collision damage checks
Front-end collisions can easily damage your radiator and other parts of the cooling system. Even a relatively minor bump can cause damage, but if you don't inspect the system closely, you may not notice any problems. If you then continue to drive with a faulty or damaged cooling system, you could cause permanent damage to the engine.
If your car suffers a front-end collision, ask a mechanic to thoroughly inspect the cooling system as soon as possible. Relatively innocuous signs can point to more serious problems, but if you don't have any mechanical knowledge, you may not spot problems straight away. For example, a collision can push the radiator and radiator support rearward into the clutch fan, damaging the water pump. Liquid coolant on the outside of the water pump is an early sign that you may not spot straight away, so it's important to get the car into expert hands as soon as possible.
A mechanic can often repair minor problems quickly and cheaply, but if you continue to drive with a damaged cooling system, you could end up with some serious bills to pay. Ironically, many drivers will ignore clues and early warning signs, especially if the car seems to drive without a problem. In fact, the longer you wait, the more serious the issue is likely to become.
Examples of damage clues include:
- Stains or wet spots on the passenger side floor where the heater core is leaking.
- Coolant or liquid on the ground underneath the car when the vehicle is stationary.
- A pungent smell where coolant is leaking from the system.
- Brown drops of oil in the coolant from an automatic transmission cooler.
A trip to a repair shop or mechanic is not always convenient, but early attention can prevent a lot of inconvenience later on.
Your car's cooling system plays a vital role in preventing damage to the engine, so you should make sure the system is always at full efficiency. Talk to a mechanic or repair shop for more advice on car radiator repairs and cooling system maintenance.