The Shocking Truth about Your Vehicle's Cooling System

This month, Christian Brothers Automotive is dedicated to setting the record straight on cooling system service. We’ve already covered the basics of the cooling system and common misconceptions about the cooling system.

Today, we’ll cover the most important part: knowing when cooling system service is necessary.

What parts of the cooling system require extra attention?

Your cooling system is made up of multiple parts, including belts, hoses, fittings and coolant.

Accessory Belt: One belt, many problems

To reduce overall space and weight in the engine compartment, today’s engines use a single plane design accessory belt to drive the A/C compressor, Water Pump and Alternator.

In terms of engine failure, the cooling system’s water pump is the most important component that is highly dependent on the condition of the belt and the condition of the accessories the belt drives. If any of the accessories cause the belt to wear out, your engine’s cooling system may fail catastrophically.

Keeping a close eye on the accessories belt and the accessories it runs will help prevent indirect cooling failures.

Hoses: They may look good…on the outside

The cooling system’s hoses are made of a firm but flexible rubber, which allows water to pass through the cooling system components. Mostly, they’re designed to flex and absorb the engine’s vibration. Over time, the hoses develop problems that can’t always be seen on the outside.

A common problem is the hardening of the hose’s inner wall, which degrades the flexibility of the hose design so it can no longer dampen the engine’s vibration. Other problems like leaks, metal corrosion and stress cracks at the connection ports of engine, radiator and heater usually lead to costly repairs that may have been preventable with proper maintenance.

Fluid: Not all coolant is created equal

Cooling systems are designed to work under pressure. Periodic visual fluid level checks can quickly determine if there’s a concern for leaks. You should always consult with a professional before opening the system. There’s always a potential of harmful fluid eruption, even if you think the temperature is safe.

Engines (and the parts of the cooling system) are made of different metals that are designed to work with specific fluid types and mixtures to prevent metal corrosion, catastrophic engine failure and the production of harmful environmental byproducts.

The periodic testing and inspection of fluid type, quality and level can be done by our ASE-certified technicians during a Courtesy Inspection.

When should cooling system service be scheduled?

There are two common misconceptions surrounding cooling system service.

On one hand, drivers believe this is a maintenance-free system. On the other, unethical auto mechanics lead drivers to believe their cooling system should be flushed and serviced every 3,000 miles (along with each oil change).

It is good practice to inspect your engine’s cooling system parts with every oil change, however the cooling system fluid only needs to be checked to ensure it is at the proper level and condition and no potential leaks are suspected.

Because of the manufacture’s specific cooling system fluid design, always check the manufacturer’s recommendations by mileage and/or condition of fluid. In most cases, you should only require full cooling system service (with related component maintenance) every 3-5 years.

When it comes to the cooling system, Christian Brothers Automotive is the “Nice Difference”

The technicians at every Christian Brothers Automotive keep a cautious eye out for any hint of trouble when performing a Courtesy Inspection. Our cooling system performance training includes the quality and level of the fluid, the condition of the accessories belt and hoses, any external and internal leaks, proper thermostat operation and cooling fan control. This effort is put into addressing any potential engine overheating concerns.

At Christian Brothers Automotive, we go above and beyond with cooling system service. We educate our guests on preventive maintenance schedules and review potential concerns before we ask for the opportunity to correct them.

Whether your concerns are the quality and level of the fluid or performing a cooling system service and fluid flush, we’ll make sure you’re taken care of!

To schedule a cooling system Courtesy Inspection, call your local Christian Brothers Automotive repair shop today. Be a part of the “nice difference”.