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Your car's cooling system may not be something you think about unless, of course, it develops an issue. Get to know how it works so you detect these issues early and prevent further problems.

Cooling System Basics

If you've never stopped to think about what your car's cooling system does, you're probably not alone. Most people ignore it until an issue comes up. However, your car's cooling system works hard to keep your car running smoothly even if you never stop to consider it. In order to keep it running smoothly, check out these cooling system basics that will help you stay informed and prepared for the next time an issue develops.

The Basic Parts of Your Cooling System

Your car's cooling system is made up of a number of parts, each of which performs its own job. If one part is unable to do its part properly, this can mean trouble for the entire system. Get to know the main components of your cooling system and what they do with the information included below:
  • Radiator: Your car's radiator is tasked with the important job of reducing the coolant's temperature. After the coolant picks up heat from the engine, it makes its way to the radiator where this part uses a series of components to cool it down. Once the coolant has reached a certain temperature, it is released so that it can go back to the engine and do it all again.
  • Thermostat: Your cooling system's thermostat can be found between the engine and the radiator. This part will open up to let the coolant through to the radiator once it has reached a certain temperature. If it hasn't gotten hot enough, the thermostat will remain closed, forcing the coolant to return to the engine to pick up more heat.
  • Water Pump: The water pump has the job of ensuring that the coolant is able to work its way through the cooling system, ultimately keeping things running smoothly.
  • Fans: Most cars have two fans in its cooling system. These fans aren't on all the time and are actually regulated by a temperature sensor. They will turn on when temperatures are getting too hot in order to provide extra air to the radiator. Oftentimes, these will turn on in situations where your engine is on but the airflow to the radiator isn't enough too cool things down quickly enough, such as when you're stuck in stop and go traffic.
  • Coolant: Your car relies on its coolant to keep temperatures under the hood at a safe level. In basic terms, this fluid travels through the engine, removing heat from it and transporting it to the radiator. The radiator then helps the coolant release this heat before sending it back on its way to the engine again.
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The Most Common Cooling System Issues

Since your cooling system is made up of a number of parts, it only makes sense that all of these will have to be maintained to keep the system running efficiently. If any of these parts fail, it can lead to serious trouble. While there are a number of things that can go wrong, below are some of the most common issues you may run into:
  • Leaking radiator. Your car's radiator performs the important job of reducing the temperature of the coolant before sending it back to the engine. However, if this part starts to leak, your car can lose quite a bit of coolant. Not only will it not be able to perform its job effectively, but it can also lead to a drop in your coolant level, leaving your engine at risk of overheating. In some cases, the damage to your radiator will mean the part will need to be replaced completely in order for it to be able to do its job.
  • Broken fans. The fans in your cooling system help the radiator reduce the temperature of your coolant more efficiently when things are heating up quickly. If the fans won't turn on or if they're distorted and wobbly, they may not be able to help your radiator cool things down. When this happens, your engine can start to overheat pretty quickly, especially in stop and go traffic or when you're completely stopped with the engine on.
  • Stuck thermostat. The thermostat is supposed to open and close to either let hot coolant through or to lead it back to the engine to pick up more heat. However, if the thermostat gets stuck it won't be able to let the coolant through to the radiator to cool off. This means it'll be stuck in your engine where things will just continue to heat up more and more. If your temperature gauge is quickly rising, keep an eye on it and don't ignore it if it gets hotter than usual.

Keep Your Engine Happy With a Synthetic Oil Change in San Diego, CA

Start your summer off right with a synthetic oil change in San Diego. The friendly oil pros at Synthetic Oil Inc can help you find the products you need for your next oil change. To learn more, give them a call at (800) 653-0323.

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