Cooling System Maintenance

When you are driving, you'll notice the TEMPERATURE GAUGE on your dashboard. Many of us Chicagoans know that we must wait until that dial moves to a warmer temperature in the winter-time before our car will produce heat to warm us up on a chilly day. But what some don't know is the “real” reason for the thermostat. This is a tool that helps you determine if all is well within your vehicle's cooling system. Most people realize their engine can overheat if the temperature surrounding it rises beyond a certain point. Few people, however, take the time to maintain their car's cooling system.

Here are some simple but key facts about your vehicle's cooling system. A cooling system is needed in a vehicle because while you are driving your vehicle undergoes a combustion process necessary to run your vehicle. This process creates heat. This heat would destroy your engine unless it is controlled. Controlling the heat is the job of your vehicle's cooling system. Coolant circulates through several components under the hood which absorbs the heat generated. The water pump shoots the coolant through your engine and is powered by the serpentine belt. Once the coolant is heated during this circulation, it travels to your radiator where it is cooled by air. The air comes in through the front of your vehicle (the grill) and blows across the surface of the radiator. Once the temperature of the coolant drops, it leaves the radiator and travels back to the engine.

The most common problems that occur with the cooling system involve deteriorated hoses, a broken serpentine belt (which powers the water pump), a failing radiator cap, and a failing water pump. Maintenance should be performed on a regular basis to be sure these important components are in tip-top shape.

What Our ASE Certified Technicians Do

The following components are inspected. Their condition is recorded and compared to manufacturer's specs. Recommendations are made per the Motorist Assurance Program Uniform Inspection Guidelines:


Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

Visual Inspection

  • Interior controls and blower
  • Radiator coolant level, hoses, pressure cap and thermostat
  • The A/C compressor belt for condition and tension
  • Leaks or other damage
  • Component condition, leaks or damage


Heating and Air Conditioning Tests

  • Pressure test engine cooling system
  • A/C system pressures are measured and compared to manufacturer's specifications
  • A/C system is leak tested
  • Both the heater and A/C are performance tested by checking the outlet air temperature at the discharge vents
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