Keeping It Cool - Understanding Your Engine Cooling System
If you’ve ever been near a recently driven car, you know one thing for sure - your engine gets HOT. No matter the season, it’s important to keep your engine cool, which is where your cooling system comes into play.
Now, first and foremost, your cooling system is different from your HVAC system. While they do have some play together (your cooling system is how you get heat in your car), it is not what gives you A/C on those hot summer days. Rather, your cooling system is a system of lines, hoses, and other parts that flow water through the engine bay to keep your engine cool and operating properly. When your engine operates, internal components move constantly to keep it running, causing a warming friction. Just like rubbing your hands together, the more the components move, the hotter they get. Your coolant plays a key roll in keeping the engine cool.
Coolant starts at the radiator, a large metal component at the front of the engine bay. Here, it is blown on by the radiator fan, and when driving, by external air. The cooled coolant then is circulated by the water pump into the engine bay, where it cools the engine and absorbs the external heat. From this point, the coolant will go one of two directions - either return to the radiator to cool, or will flow to the cabin area through the heater core, where it will cool down and provide heat as needed to the cabin of the vehicle.
Coolant that flows to the heater core, just like the radiator, cools and returns to the engine to follow the cycle once again. Having the proper balance of coolant is essential in summer heat, but also in winter time. Rather than water in the the cooling system, your mechanic will use a mix of water with antifreeze. The antifreeze is a liquid that has a higher boiling point and lower freezing point than water. In the winter, maintaining a proper amount of antifreeze is essential to avoid the liquid from freezing, causing damage to major components, including (but not limited to) your engine block.
When is the last time you had your cooling system checked? Knowing how essential it is, it may be a good idea to have it checked before the weather turns! If you’ve not had your cooling system looked at in a while, give us a call. Just dial 618-998-9010 to schedule your cooling system inspection and drain and fill to keep your vehicle going no matter the season.