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Cooling System Maintenance

Is your vehicle running hot? Overheating? Does the engine leak green or orange fluid from the cooling system? Are the belts due for replacement (e.g., squeaking, cracked)? Are the hoses over 4 years old or do they feel old and brittle in spots? Any of these conditions may indicate the need for service or repairs to your vehicle's engine cooling system.

Engine Cooling/Radiator Services
The engine cooling system is comprised of many different components that all must work correctly for the system to cool the engine properly. Any one component that fails can effect the entire system, consequently causing an engine overheating condition.

Cooling system failure is the #1 reason for automotive breakdown on our nation's highways. Unlike a flat tire, you can't stop and put a spare on. A failure of the engine cooling system will mean a trip to the repair shop behind a tow truck, which is why it is important that you have periodic inspections and regular maintenance of the cooling system.

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend replacement of the anti-freeze every three years or 36,000 miles.

The key components of the cooling system are:
  • Radiator

  • Radiator cap

  • Radiator hoses

  • Radiator fan / fan clutch

  • Anti-freeze / coolant

  • Water pump

  • Thermostat

  • Fan belts

  • Serpentine belt (or v-belts on older vehicles)

  • Cooling sensor

  • Heater core

  • Heater hoses
A complete radiator flushing service should include the following:
  • Inspect system and pressure test for leaks

  • Add flush chemicals to the radiator

  • Power flush system through flush machine

  • Refill system with proper amount of anti-freeze

  • Add sealant / lubricant to the system

  • A warranty
Air Conditioning (A/C)
Does the A/C blow only hot air from the vents? Does it blow cold sporadically? Are there loud noises when you run the A/C? Any of these symptoms may indicate the need for service or repairs to your vehicle's air conditioning system.

A/C Diagnostic and Repair
On a hot day, you want your car's A/C system to do one thing: cool your vehicle's interior. Whether your vehicle needs a simple recharge, or a new compressor, an A/C diagnostic should include the following:
  • Visually inspect A/C components

  • Run performance test including
    • System state of charge test

    • System control test

  • Perform leak test using approved electronic and/or dye detections leak detector
A/C Retrofit
Many older vehicles on the road today use a type of refrigerant called R12 or Freon. Due to stricter environmental laws, this product is no longer manufactured. As the current supply of (recycled) R12 is dwindling, the price is climbing. Today you have the option of converting to a new EPA-approved refrigerant called 134a. Most passenger vehicles manufactured after 1993 have the new 134a refrigerant.

Conversion to 134a is different for each vehicle, with many requiring the installation of major new components. Get several estimates from shops with ASE Certified HVAC technicians for both a repair of the old system and an estimate to retrofit to 134a.



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