How To Troubleshoot Auto Cooling System
Learning how to trouble shoot auto cooling system parts can go a long way toward saving time and money that would otherwise be spent at the mechanic's. There are some very simple steps that can be taken in order to troubleshoot this system without spending a ton of money! You may need the items listed below to do this.
- Flat piece of cardboard
- Shop rag
- Water hose
- Set up the area. Place the piece of cardboard under the vehicle so that it is directly beneath the radiator and engine. This will help you to identify where some leaks may be later on.
- Check the radiator. When the vehicle is not on and has been allowed to cool down, open the radiator cap to check the fluid level. It should be right around the neck of the radiator. If the vehicle is cool, then you may refill the radiator. Remove the cardboard if you need to refill the radiator. Do not fill a hot vehicle while it is off. This can cause serious problems such as a cracked block.
- Check for leaks. After any excess water has been allowed to drip off of the vehicle, replace and inspect the cardboard for any puddles. Look above the puddles to see where the leak may be.
- Turn the vehicle on. Sometimes when you troubleshoot auto cooling system parts, you need to actually see those parts work. Start the vehicle and allow it to warm up. When it warms up, the thermostat should open and allow the water or coolant to circulate. Check for leaks by observing the hoses, radiator, water pump and cardboard as the system performs. Also, observe the fan to make sure it is working. Replace or repair any items that are leaking or not working. Be sure to check electrical connections to make sure they are secure so that they are providing an even flow to the fan.
- Turn the vehicle off. Once the vehicle is off, allow it cool so that it is not cold, but not hot enough to be harmful. Feel the hoses coming from the radiator. All of the hoses should be warm. If they aren't, you may have a broken thermostat. You may need to repeat this process due to the fact that a thermostat may sometimes stick, which means that it will open or close on an irregular basis. Replace the thermostat as needed.
- Feel the radiator. If all other methods don't offer you a solution to your problem, you may have a blockage in your radiator. With the car still warm, but not hot, feel the radiator. All areas of the radiator should be the same temperature. If there is an area that seems to be cool compared with the rest of it, there may be something blocking the flow of water in the radiator. Flush out the radiator to clear the blockage.
- Refill the radiator. After you have checked and repaired the auto cooling system, be sure to refill the radiator. This can be done with a premixed bottle of antifreeze or you can mix your own by putting 50% water and 50% antifreeze in the radiator.