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Has your four wheeled friend been a little hot under the collar lately? Chances are, it’s not hormonal or stressed at work. I’m going to give you three quick fixes that may help. One quick tip that may help save your fingers: NEVER TOUCH A HOT ENGINE! You’d be surprised how many people get stranded somewhere, pop the hood & start tinkering around. That’s why they put warning labels on costumes letting you know you can’t fly just because you’re wearing a cape. Just sayin’….
COOLANT LEVEL: That’s right. It could be as simple as checking your coolant level. When adding coolant, make sure it’s diluted 50% water & 50% full strength coolant. You can also purchase coolant that is pre-mixed so that all you have to do is open and pour.
THERMOSTAT: Your car’s cooling system works a LOT like your circulatory system in your body; it’s on a loop. The thermostat is like a gatekeeper in that loop. It’s job is to keep the engine warm in the winter by NOT letting the coolant get through and keep the engine cool in the summer by pouring as much coolant through the system as possible. If the thermostat breaks, most of the time it breaks in the CLOSED position. Not so bad in the winter. In the summer, things tend to get a little steamy.
WATER PUMP: Remember the circulatory system? Your water pump is kind of the like the heart in that system, constantly pumping the coolant through the engine. If the bearings that spin in the water pump go out, the internal mechanism that pumps the fluid can’t um….well…pump the fluid. This means the coolant that is trapped in the engine can’t get to the radiator to cool down so it stays in the engine block getting hotter and hotter. I’m a little teapot short and stout…..
RADIATOR: We all know this big ol’ friend in the front of the engine but it’s kind of mysterious what it’s job is. Let me help. It takes all that coolant from the engine, spreads it out across the front of the car. This lets wind from the fans and from outside blow across the coolant, cooling it off (like you blow across the top of your hot coffee cup!) before allowing it to go back to the thermostat. That’s pretty much all it does. Like a big ol’ waterfall in front of the car. The problem is that radiators have seams like anything else that is put together. When coolant gets hot, the molecules in it start moving around a LOT faster. This creates pressure. Too much pressure and POP! Now your waterfall is cascading onto the pavement instead of into the lower radiator hose.
There are other parts to your system (fans, coolant temperature sensors, reservoirs, et cetera) but in the interest of keeping you interested, we’ll save those for another day. :)
To keep your four wheeled friends healthier longer, call My Car Doc at 317-345-4528