Your engine gets blisteringly hot, even during cold Minnesotan winters. With temperatures upwards of 200 degrees, it would be easy for overheating without a cooling system. Just like when your phone shuts off due to overheating, your engine would fail to run – and worse, you could end up damaging it. To help you keep your engine cool, your cooling system needs to run smoothly, and sometimes that requires maintenance.
How Your Cooling System Works
Your car probably has an internal combustion engine. Which mens that your engine works by combusting, or burning, fuel which creates a ton of heat. Without cooling it down, the metal parts would expand and shut the engine down – possibly warping or breaking in the process. That’s why coolant is an important fluid in your car. As coolant and water mix, the cooling process goes through the following cycle:
- Coolant absorbs heat as it moves throughout the engine.
- Coolant is sent to the radiator, where the airflow cools it.
- Coolant is sent back to the engine, then repeats the first two steps.
Coolant and Antifreeze
Coolant and antifreeze sound like fluids performing opposite roles: One cools, one prevents freezing. Well, it turns out that they’re actually the same thing. The liquid, which typically comes in a yellow or green color, protects your engine from the external temperature as well as the internal temperature. It keeps your engine’s temperature in equilibrium: In addition to preventing overheating, it serves an important role in keeping your engine from freezing in our harsh Minnesota winters.
Replace Your Coolant Regularly
Now that you know how your coolant works, it’s important to know what routine maintenance is necessary. Coolant loses its protective properties as it ages. Just like you need to replace your oil every so often, you should replace your coolant regularly by undergoing a coolant flush. Most vehicles require this once every few years. But between these services, you can use a hydrometer to check if the coolant is just too low. In that case, all you need to do is top it off.
Think Kennedy Transmission for Your Cooling Needs
Coolant replacement isn’t the only issue that comes up for your cooling system. Leaks are common, often caused by cracks in your cooling system components or a broken water hose. It’s important to keep in mind that repairing system leaks are considerably easier and less costly than replacing a damaged engine from overheating. Find your nearest store with our store locator, and set up your next cooling system or other automotive service with us.