The temperatures are on the rise again and before you know it, summertime will be here! With that said, the rising temperatures can put added strain on your vehicle, which makes it extremely important to ensure the cooling system is properly maintained before the dog days of summer arrive. Performing cooling system maintenance will help prevent costly problems later down the road like overheating or other radiator related problems. Check out the following tips you can do now and periodically throughout the summer to ensure your vehicle can beat the heat!
1. Check the Coolant Level
First and foremost, pop the hood and check the coolant level in your vehicle’s radiator (NOTE: only check the fluid when the vehicle is cool or at least 30 to 60 minutes after you’ve turned the engine off). Every car is different as to where the coolant cap is, so refer to your owner’s manual. However, some vehicles may be equipped with a plastic reservoir that has level markers indicated on the tank that display the level of the coolant. Make sure the coolant is at the correct level. If you need to add fluid, simply pick up some coolant at the auto parts store and fill it to the right level (just don’t overfill the tank)!
2. Drain or Flush the Coolant
Most vehicles will require a coolant flush or drain at a specified mileage in the owner’s manual, so be sure to refer to the manual for the appropriate timetable. It is common for a vehicle to need this type of service around 100,000 miles, but some vehicles may need a coolant flush sooner. At any rate, a coolant flush pushes 4 to 5 gallons of anti-freeze out of the entire system, which clears it of scale deposits, contaminants and old fluid. A flush will ensure all the old anti-freeze will be removed while a drain will mix new fluid with old fluid, so it’s important to know the differences. A complete coolant flush will re-lubricate the water pump from the additives in the coolant, which will lengthen the life of the water pump. This is essential for keeping the engine cool while driving!
3. Check Hoses and Caps
Overtime, the hoses and caps that are associated with the cooling system can wear and eventually lead to leaks. If your vehicle leaks coolant, the engine can overheat because it doesn’t have enough fluid in the system to properly cool the vehicle. With that in mind, you need to regularly check on the health of the hoses and caps. Check for cracks, cuts and leaks, as these are all signs of normal wear and tear. Also, after you’ve driven your car and turned the engine off, take a look underneath for leaking coolant. If you notice the temperature gauge on the dashboard heading towards the hot side of the gauge, you may have a leak or some kind of cooling system problem.
4. Make Repairs
If you notice any issues with your cooling system, it needs to be repaired immediately. Sometimes the repairs can be done if yourself, so you can save money when you buy used car parts in Rochester NY when you’ve identified the issue. However, if the issue is more complex than you are comfortable with handling, have your mechanic repair the cooling system because you won’t get very far in a vehicle that overheats!