Your Vehicle’s Cooling System

It’s important to know the function and purpose of your vehicle’s cooling system, because this part of the entire system will either extend the life of your engine, or have you shopping for a new one.

Something so small as a bad thermostat can block the cool fluid from circulating into your engine and cause major damage. Overheating is a good sign that something is wrong. If your car is running at unsafe temperatures, it will cause engine damage.

Steam coming from under the hood would be a good visual that your vehicle has overheated. It’s a good idea to check your temperature gauge once in a while, especially when you are sitting idle at a traffic light. If you notice the temperature rising, you may want to check your fluid level (when the engine is cold). This is a common problem that can cause major damage to your engine, if neglected.

Prevention is Key to Your Savings

Once you have a good idea of what to look for, you can then manage the health of the system. We want you to know a little something, because we don’t want you to spend your hard-earned money on things that can be prevented. Prevention begins with knowledge. So, here are things that you should know.

Understanding Your Vehicle’s Cooling System

The cooling system is a crucial part of your vehicle’s engine life. It’s main and only purpose is to keep your engine running at a consistent temperature. There are several components to the cooling system, and each has a purpose that must be met in order for the system to function properly.


The coolant is a liquid compound that is equal amount of distilled water and liquid antifreeze. This has the cooling benefit of water, but the antifreeze will keep it from boiling over normal boiling temperatures. DO NOT add tap water to fill the system. 50/50 antifreeze solution is available at your local auto parts store, or you can bring it in to us.

Tap water has minerals that can deform deposits inside the radiator and the cooling system passages of your engine. And over a long period of time they can lead to over-heating. If you want to add water, you should only use  distilled water or, de-ionized water.

Radiator and Fan

The radiator will disperse the heat from the cooling system. As the coolant flows into the radiator, cool air passes through the fins of the radiator, cooling it down before it flows back into the engine. If the radiator begins to leak, or the fins become damaged, that can cause your cooling system to fail and your car will overheat.

Your radiator also has a fan that pushes or pulls air through it. If your radiator fan is electric, the motor will kick on with a fan relay when the heat builds up to a certain temperature. If the relay goes bad or other electrical issues prevent the fan from coming on, you will also experience overheating.

Radiator Pressure Cap

This component is important to have. If you are using a rag, you need to get a Radiator Pressure Cap. Without an actual cap, your cooling system won’t pressurize and won’t function properly. This one inexpensive part can save you from costly, major engine repairs.

Water Pump

The water pump is what pushes the coolant through the system. Typically, a failed water pump goes bad over time and wear. But the wrong coolant or bad coolant can cause corrosion inside of the water pump. Also, a belt that’s either misaligned or too tight can make the water pump seize. Water pumps can also leak.


This part of the cooling system regulates the flow of coolant going into the engine. The thermostat opens and closes depending on the temperature of the coolant. Like any wearing part, this one will eventually require replacement. For most cars, this is an easy fix, but if left neglected, the problems that can compound will quickly add hundreds or even thousands to your bill.

Beat the Heat: Florida’s Summers Are Brutal

If your car is running hotter during the months of April through September, you may want to have your cooling system checked out. Summers in Florida are brutal. If your car is parked in the sun for hours, it doesn’t get a good chance to cool down. If you sit in traffic a lot, that too isn’t helping it either. The health of your engine and the health of your bank account are both going to suffer if your car’s cooling system is neglected. So, please take the time to check a few things, or bring your vehicle to the Bypass Garage and let us look at it for you.