Tips for Cooling System
In the heat of summer the cooling system in your car can be strained to its limit. Here are some quick and easy tips to help reduce the possibility of having a breakdown.
The cooling system will only keep your car or pickup at the correct temperature if the coolant is a) the correct type, b) at the correct level, and c) at the correct mixture of 50% coolant and 50% water.
Check for debris, like weeds, animal hair, dust, and dirt, that can collect over time in the area between the air conditioning condenser and the radiator. This restricts air flow through the radiator and reduces its efficiency. If this hasn’t been looked at for years, have your repair shop remove the upper radiator mounting brackets to take a look. Often, accumulated debris can be blown out with air and/or water.
Check your coolant level to see if it is low. If you are going to add coolant yourself, be sure to follow the manufacturer procedures and remember:
- Always check and add coolant when the engine is cold
- Always check your owner’s manual for the correct fluid type to add since there are different types of coolant.
- Use a mixture of coolant and water at the above listed ratio
- Add the mixture to the “cold fill” mark on the reservoir
- Don’t overfill! As heat causes the fluid to expand and the excess fluid is pushed out, it can be confused with a leak.
Be aware that the service life of a coolant will vary depending on the type. Recommeded replacement intervals of extended life coolant may be as long as 5 years or 100,000+ miles. These coolants (such as the orange Dex-Cool found in some vehicles) may cost more to purchase, but it has a much longer service life. Complaints that this type of fluid gets thick and clogs the system and even the heater core are non-existent when a proper fluid level is maintained.
Find out if your vehicle originally came from the factory with an extended life coolant that has been replaced with the traditional “green” antifreeze. This will make a difference when its time to add coolant or when a recommended fluid change service should be scheduled. (Traditional “green” needs to be changed every 2-3 years or 30,000 miles.)
If you’re not sure of your vehicle’s service history and don’t want to rummage through your records to find receipts you can log onto OwnerAutoSite from the link on a email reminder about your car sent to you by Dale’s Auto Care. This will give you instant access to the repair and maintenance history Dale’s has performed on your vehicle (s).