- Business Advocacy
Summer is here, and the weather is warm. We are out and about in ways that we have not been for over a year. Engine cooling systems will be working hardest these next few months. On a high mileage vehicle, all it will take is one hot afternoon to reveal a weak component.
Time, weather, and many heat cycles take their toll on an engine cooling system’s components. The system consists of many parts that work together to keep the engine operating temperature under control. An engine’s combustion temperatures are in the thousands of degrees. An engine’s operating temperature ranges from 195 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Over the years, I have seen many system components fail. The most common are upper radiator hoses, radiators, electric fans, or fan clutches.
Hoses will become brittle or spongy over time depending on the conditions that they have been exposed to under the hood. If there have been oil leaks in the past they can cause otherwise long life/mileage hoses to fail early. The engine outlet hose to the radiator will likely be the first to need attention if conditions are ideal.
Radiators these days are often made with aluminum cores and plastic end tanks. I have seen many end tanks deteriorate over time and start to crack. Eventually these tanks will split and leak coolant out in a matter of seconds. These weaknesses can be difficult to see depending on vehicle design. When visible, look for discolored tanks or hose fittings. They will start to turn dark then light brown with age. Radiator caps need to maintain system pressure and keep coolant from evaporating away.
Radiator fans will be controlled by a thermostatic clutch or an electric motor. These fans will need to pull enough air though the radiator under low speed traffic conditions or when your vehicle is working hardest climbing a grade or carrying a heavy load. If the clutch has leaked fluid or if the fan’s temperature sensing or control circuit have a problem, you will notice higher than normal gauge readings or a temperature warning.
The engine cooling system is often forgotten and sometimes neglected until something goes wrong, but a professional annual inspection will help keep your car off the back of a tow truck. Dealing with weak components before failure will help you avoid an engine overheating event and costly engine repairs. Avoid an interruption in your schedule, and get your vehicle’s cooling system checked by your trusted automotive service professional soon.