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An engine that is overheating will quickly self destruct, so proper maintenance of the cooling system is very important to the life of the engine.
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It’s recommended that you have the components of your cooling system inspected by a professional. Here’s what should be tested:
The thermostat, to ensure proper opening and closing
Visual inspection of all the components
Radiator cap pressure test
A pressure test to find external leaks in the radiator, hoses, water pump, and heater core
An internal leak test
A test to ensure the engine fan is working correctly
We Inspect and Repair Cooling Systems
The most important maintenance item is to flush and refill the coolant periodically. The reason for this important service is that anti-freeze has a number of additives that are designed to prevent corrosion in the cooling system. This corrosion tends to accelerate when several different types of metal interact with each other. The corrosion causes scale that eventually builds up and begins to clog the thin flat tubes in the radiator and heater core causing the engine to eventually overheat. The anti-corrosion chemicals in the antifreeze prevents this, but they have a limited life span.
A radiator pressure cap is designed to maintain pressure in the cooling system at a certain maximum pressure. If the cooling system exceeds that pressure, a valve in the cap opens to bleed the excessive pressure into the reserve tank. Once the engine has cooled off, a negative pressure begins to develop in the cooling system. When this happens, a second valve in the cap allows the coolant to be siphoned back into the radiator from the reserve tank. If the cap should fail, the engine can easily overheat. A pressure test of the radiator cap is a quick way to tell if the cap is doing its job.