Engine repair and auto radiator repair – Summer is in full swing and those long-awaited vacations are right around the corner. A cooling system, engine repair and auto radiator repair are in need of attention. If not, these can ruin the first summer trip. A hot July afternoon under a cloudless sky is not the time to spend several hours on the roadside with steam pouring from under the hood of an overheated car.
Spending some time on a weekend, using these guidelines, inspecting the cooling system may help avoid the driver and the car from blowing off some steam.
Starting the Inspection of Engine Repair and Auto Radiator Repair
The inspection should be performed on a cold engine at the engine repair service center when no pressure is on the system and there’s no chance of getting scalded or burned.
With the radiator cap removed at the auto radiator repair center, check the sealing areas for worn or missing seals. The cap should be tested to make sure it is able to hold its rated pressure. Weak radiator caps will allow coolant to boil at a much lower temperature than it would normally.
The coolant (anti-freeze) needs to be tested for proper strength and make sure no contaminants are in the system. The proper strength is a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water. It can be checked with an inexpensive tester available anywhere auto parts are sold. A proper mixture will usually give a reading around minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If it has been more than two years or 24,000 miles since the coolant was last changed, then now is the time to get it done. Most service facilities offer a power flush service that will not only replace the coolant but will also backflush the system to remove rust and scale build-up.
All the hoses—heater hoses, radiator hoses and by-pass hoses—need a thorough inspection and a good squeeze. Hoses should feel firm yet pliable. Any crunching felt with the hand is a sure indication a hose is deteriorating on the inside. If a hose is very soft or mushy, very hard, or covered with oil and grease, it is time for a replacement. The entire length of each hose should be inspected, paying close attention to any place it may have been rubbing against something and worn thin. Connection points and all clamps should be clean, tight, and show no signs of leakage or swelling.
Drive Belts and Fans
Fan belts and serpentine belts need a close and thorough inspection. They should be inspected for the following:
Fraying- small pieces of belt material beginning to tear away
Cracking- splitting across the face of a belt’s drive surface
Glazing- glossy or shiny spots on a belt’s drive surface
Any belt even remotely questionable should be replaced.
If the car or truck is equipped with a regular or clutch-type fan, they should be inspected for loose, cracked, bent, or missing blades. The front portion of the hub on fan clutches should be clean and dry, showing no signs of leakage. Spinning a clutch-type fan by hand should be met with some resistance within the fluid coupling. There should be no movement found when grabbing the fan blade at the tip and rocking it back and forth. The movement here may indicate a bad fan clutch or failing water pump bearing.
Thermostats are very difficult to check for proper operation on most cars. Replacing them every two years when the cooling system gets flushed is worth the peace of mind on a long trip.
For those cars and trucks with electric cooling fans, the engine repair should be started and allowed to reach normal operating temperature. The cooling fan should cycle on and off consistently at the same points on the vehicle’s temperature gauge.
The Shakedown Cruise
A nice Sunday drive can be the final road test before a trip. Pulling several long grades on the drive and watching how the temperature gauge reacts will indicate whether adequate airflow is being drawn through the radiator. This is also a good time to listen for the fan clutch to engage on those vehicles so equipped. Hearing a noticeable roaring sound when the clutch engages and the fan starts pulling more air through the radiator will indicate all is well.
A final safety measure of having a repair shop pressure test the whole system and run a special block test that checks for any combustion leaks—leaking head gaskets or cracked heads—that may be getting into the cooling system is worth the small investment of time and money.
A properly maintained cooling system will help keep that next trip fun and trouble-free.
Signs of Engine Repair Need
Of course one of the telltale signs that an engine repair is needed is overheating is the engine coolant temperature gauge is in the red. If the vehicle isn’t equipped with a temperature gauge, a red illuminated engine light is another indication. A red engine light could also mean a loss of engine oil pressure, but the engine cooling system overheating is much more common.
In some cases, if the cooling systems have a sudden loss of coolant, the engine repair coolant temperature gauge (or red engine light) may not function properly. The sending unit for the gauge actually touches the coolant in order to read the temperature. If there’s no coolant (due to loss of coolant) the sending unit will measure a false reading. If this occurs the engine will start to lose compression and run very rough. Eventually, the engine will stop running and major engine damage could occur.
A Basic Understanding of a Vehicles Cooling System
When determining the cause and correction of an overheated engine, it’s important to understand how a cooling system operates. The engine coolant is circulated through the engine with the engine’s water pump, which is usually belt-driven. Since there are moving parts in an engine that creates a tremendous amount of heat through friction and combustion, the coolant helps to cool the moving parts.
The Function of the Cars RadiatorThe radiator is what keeps the engine coolant at an acceptable temperature. The radiator is made up of small metal fins where the coolant passes through. A cooling fan sucks air from the radiator and through the fins to cool the coolant. As the vehicle is driven, air passes through the radiator that also helps cool the coolant. That’s one of the reasons some vehicles will overheat if sitting and idling for a long period of time.
The Function of the Engines Thermostat
The thermostat is usually located in a place where the coolant exits the engine. The engine’s thermostat will open and close according to the coolant temperature. Engines don’t like to run cold so the thermostat will stay closed at cooler temperatures. Once the engine reaches its normal operating temperature, the thermostat will open and allow the coolant to run through the cooling system. The thermostat will continue to open and close as the coolant temperature fluctuates.
Understanding how a vehicle’s cooling system operates will help in finding the root cause if a cooling system component fails. In order to diagnose a cooling system problem, a cooling system checklist should be followed in order to find the root cause of the failure. Understanding the importance and the basic fundamentals of a vehicle’s cooling system will help give the vehicle owner some peace of mind.