The cooling system plays a very important role in your car and it is very important to keep it running in a healthy state, especially in our country where the temperatures go past 50 degrees during the summers. Most motorcycles have got air cooled engine which essentially consists of the fins on the engine, so there is hardly anything to maintain there. But in case of cars, the engines use liquid cooling which comprises of various components and thus the system is a bit complicated. So it is very important to monitor the system and keep it running perfectly. An engine running at the right temperature would offer you excellent drivability and efficiency while minimising the wear as it increases at high temperatures. Here are a couple of tips you should follow to keep the engine cooling system running fine so that it doesn’t surprise you in the middle of nowhere.
Monitor Fluid Levels
You should check the level of coolant at frequent intervals. This becomes even more important during the summer months when the cooling system is running overtime. The interval between these checks could be 7-10 days. There is one thing you should always keep in mind. Never open the pressure filler cap when the engine is hot. Let it cool down for a couple of hours before you open it as the liquid might spill out suddenly causing burns. This is because as the pressure builds up, the boiling point of fluid goes up but opening the cap would release the pressure and cause the fluid to come out. The fluid levels are marked on the reservoir. If the level of fluid is running low, top it off with the recommend coolant. Most manufacturers recommend a particular grade of coolant mixed in a specific ratio with water. Adhere to what ratio the manufacturer has recommended.
Check The Hoses
The hoses are also put under a lot of stress as they are placed inside the bonnet where the temperatures are already very high and they carry hot fluid between different parts of the cooling system. This makes them more prone to damage as compared to other hoses used on your vehicle. Even a minor leak in these hoses can cause great deal of trouble. If there is a loss of pressure in the cooling circuit, the temperature of fluid can go up suddenly and also result in overheating of the engine. That is why you should check these hoses along with the level of fluids. However the best way you can check these hoses is by visual inspection only. Give them a thorough look so that you can find out if there are any leaks in them. Look for signs of moisture or layers of green liquid on the hoses. If you find something like that, immediately get it replaced.
Know the Type of System
Even the liquid cooling systems can be of different types depending on your car. You will find two different reservoirs in most modern cars. One of them is obviously the radiator and the other one is surge or degassing tank. The degassing tank would be found on cars that have a closed radiator without any cap on it. In this case the degassing tank would serve as a pressurised container and you need to top it off regularly. This increases the capacity of radiator in case the fluid level drops. This system is pretty much the standard for most premium and performance vehicles these days. It also serves as a release for the gases or air trapped in the system. On the low end vehicles, you will find a plastic tank for the fluid along with the radiator. This is called the surge tank and it doesn’t get a pressurised seal. It just collects the extra fluid when the pressure runs high. Just in case you end up overheating your vehicle, you should top off the radiator and not the surge tank to cool your car.
Checking the Fan
The purpose of a radiator is to cool down the fluid coming out the engine cooling jacket. It is at a very high temperature and the radiator provides increased surface area to increase the heat flow to the surrounding air. The radiator fan forces air onto the radiator so that it cools down quickly. The temperatures would shoot up quickly if the radiator fan fails. If this happens, check if the fuse is okay. Also check if the connections are fine and if you are not able to figure out what is wrong, just connect it directly so that you don’t end up damaging the engine.
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