Today we want to talk about a vital system in our cars – the cooling system. It’s one of those things that Chesapeake car owners don’t give much thought to until it fails and then they’re stranded by the side of a road in Chesapeake.
Cooling systems fail more often than any other mechanical system – usually because of neglect. Don’t you hate it when something breaks, and you could have done something to prevent it?
The good news is that if Chesapeake car owners take care of their cooling systems they can keep working for the life of their car.
Here at AutoNetTV and Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake, we emphasize critical preventive maintenance services like replacing your coolant according to the factory schedule. But the various parts that make up the cooling system need attention too. The major components of the cooling system are the water pump, freeze plugs, the thermostat, the radiator, cooling fans, the heater core, the pressure cap, the overflow tank and the hoses.
It sounds complicated, but we Chesapeake car owners don’t have to be experts – we can leave that to our considerate tech at Bells Mill AutoCare. But, having an overview will help us remember how to take care of your car’s cooling system.
Most Chesapeake folks would be surprised to know that burning fuel in your engine produces up to 4,500 degrees of heat. And all that heat has to be dealt with. If the heat can’t be drawn off the engine, the pistons will literally weld themselves to the inside of the cylinders – then you just have to throw the engine away and get a new one. That would cost thousands of dollars.
Now the water pump is what forces the coolant through passages in the pickup engine to absorb heat. The pump is driven by a belt that needs replacement from time to time. And the water pump will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Spending some cash on replacing the belts and water pump is much less than the cost of repairing the extremely pricey damage that can be done when an engine seizes.
There’s another little but important part of the coolant system that protects the engine. It’s called a freeze plug. If you remember from high school chemistry, water expands when it freezes. In very cold areas, the coolant can actually freeze when the pickup is left sitting.
It is hard to believe, but the expanding frozen coolant is strong enough to actually crack the engine block. The freeze plugs fit into the engine block. They fit tight enough to withstand the pressure of a running engine, but can expand or pop out if the coolant freezes. These little things save a lot of engine blocks.
That brings up a good point. An engine has to work in all kinds of VA temperatures – extremely hot as well as very cold. How does the pickup cooling system adapt to external temperatures as well as varying operating conditions?
Well, it’s much like the way you keep your Chesapeake house at a comfortable temperature all year round – with a thermostat. The thermostat in your pickup controls how much coolant flows through your engine. When the engine is cold, it restricts coolant flow until the engine comes up to an efficient operating temperature. Then it starts opening up to move more coolant to keep the temperature within a specified range.
The thermostat needs to be replaced from time to time as well. It’s easy for your Bells Mill AutoCare technician to diagnose a failed thermostat and is fairly inexpensive to replace. We can do this for you at Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake, just give us a call: 757.436.5950. Now we’ve been talking about all this heat we’ve got to get rid of, but haven’t really talked about where it goes. That’s where the radiator comes in. The hot coolant passes through the radiator. Air flows past the cooling fins and cools the coolant.
The radiator has two tanks that hold coolant: sometimes one at the top and bottom or one on either side. If you have an automatic transmission in your pickup, one of the tanks will also contain a second tank that cools the transmission fluid. Large SUV’s and trucks often have a separate transmission cooler. So when Chesapeake motorists drive around Chesapeake, the air is forced past the radiator. But driving doesn’t produce enough air flow. So the radiator has cooling fans that force fresh air over the radiator. These fans may be powered by a belt or by electric motors.
Chesapeake motorists also have something called a heater core. The heater core is like a mini radiator. A small fan blows air over the heater core and into the passenger compartment of your pickup. That’s how Chesapeake motorists warm their cars when it’s cold out in VA.
Next is the radiator cap. With most newer cars around Chesapeake, you never remove the radiator cap, except to replace it. You add coolant through the overflow tank. The radiator cap is also called a pressure cap, because its essential job is to maintain pressure in the cooling system.
High pressure raises the boiling point of the coolant, so it cools more effectively even in very demanding Chesapeake conditions. That is why Chesapeake motorists need to replace the cap from time to time. The team at Bells Mill AutoCare recommends changing it out every time you replace your coolant.
Coming back to the overflow tank, it is critical because when the coolant gets hot it expands and the overflow holds the extra volume. The tank helps maintain the proper level of coolant and keeps air out of the system. Chesapeake car owners should never open the radiator cap or over flow tank when the engine is hot. This could lead to serious burns.
What else do we Chesapeake drivers need to do to keep our cooling systems working well? Well, there are the hoses that hook all of these pieces together. They’re obviously very tough to deal with the pressure and high temperatures. But they do get worn. Sometimes they get spongy from the heat. Sometimes they lose their connection to the radiator, water pump, etc. It’s a great idea to have your Chesapeake service center or considerate Bells Mill AutoCare technician inspect your hoses at least once a year and replace them, if needed, before they break.
The team at Bells Mill AutoCare can check your cooling system and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. Give us a call at 757.436.5950. Bells Mill AutoCare 964 Bells Mill Rd Chesapeake, VA 23322 757.436.5950
Coolant Antifreeze Service In Chesapeake, VA
Posted on July 02,15 by truck2
Chesapeake car owners may know that most automotive failures in Chesapeake, VA are tire related, but do you know the second most common cause for vehicle failure? Nope, it’s not teenagers. It is the coolant system. But, if you take good care of your pickup coolant system, it will take good care of you.
A pickup’s engine creates a lot of heat – so much heat, that if it is not properly cooled, the engine can lock up, resulting in massive damage and expensive repair bills. But when everything is working right, your pickup engine operates at the proper temperature and all is well. Without antifreeze in your cooling system, the water could freeze and cause pickup engine damage. This could be very expensive, not to mention inconvenient.
The right mix of water and antifreeze is essential and protects the engine against damage from freezing and overheating. Antifreeze also protects the coolant system against corrosion that could cause the system to fail. The thing to remember is this: coolant system failure is very common, but it is also very uncomplicated to prevent. Your Chesapeake service center knows the car maker’s recommendations, and can tell you when the coolant needs to be changed. At Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake, we can perform a coolant system service.
Even the best antifreeze cannot completely protect the coolant system from harmful deposits forever. The anti-corrosion additives are used up over time, so the coolant must be replaced. A coolant service cleans out the system and replaces the old fluid with fresh coolant. A coolant system service at Bells Mill AutoCare is a low-cost way to protect against major engine repairs down the road. Prevention is the key for Chesapeake drivers. Be sure to watch out for the two main warning signs: if your temperature gauge is in the “hot” zone or if you get a message warning you to check your coolant. If you take a look under the hood, you will see the coolant overflow bottle. You can see there are lines that indicate the proper level of coolant … if your engine is cold – or if it is hot.
Chesapeake drivers can add water or antifreeze to that bottle themselves, but should be careful. First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. The steam could severely burn you. Second, try to get to Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owner’s manual. Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze, or you will damage your engine. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with Bells Mill AutoCare or your service center where they can make necessary corrections. Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze.
Chesapeake car owners will need to check their car maker’s owner’s manual to make sure they use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the auto maker’s warranty on your pickup cooling system. If you’re not sure, ask your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare technician at Bells Mill AutoCare for guidance.
Bells Mill AutoCare Radiator Service
Posted on March 12,14 by truck2
The coolant system is a vital part of your vehicle. It is also the second most common cause for vehicle failures. Even though coolant system failure is fairly common in Chesapeake, it is easy to prevent.
The most recognizable part of the coolant system to Chesapeake motorists is the radiator. It is connected to the engine with hoses and is filled with coolant. The coolant draws heat off the engine and then passes into the radiator. Air passes through cooling fins to reduce the temperature of the coolant and then it’s back to the engine again.
There are several ways for the cooling system failure. Most common is with the coolant itself. Coolant is comprised of water and antifreeze. The proper ratio keeps the coolant from either boiling away or freezing. Understandably, either can lead to massive engine damage.
Another critical coolant issue that is often overlooked by Chesapeake drivers is the age of the coolant itself. Antifreeze has additives that protect the coolant system from corrosion. As these additives are depleted over time, they can’t protect the radiator and other parts from rust, scaling and corrosion. That old container of coolant gathering dust in your garage may still keep your engine cool, but it won’t protect it from corrosion.
If get a warning message to check the coolant or if the pickup temperature gauge is in the hot zone, your cooling system needs to be checked. It’s OK to add water or antifreeze yourself. But you need to be cautious. Remember four things:
First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. You could be severely burned.
Second, get to Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your pickup owners manual – it will direct you to only make additions to the coolant overflow bottle.
Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with your Bells Mill AutoCare service center where we can make necessary adjustments.
Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze. You need to check your pickup owners manual to make sure you use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturers warranty on your cooling system. Again, another reason to depend on your Bells Mill AutoCare service center in Chesapeake to do things right.
Remember, your Chesapeake service center has the equipment to change your coolant quickly and inexpensively.
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