Cooling System

Mike's Service Auto Body in Narragansett, Rhode Island has the experience and equipment to maintain your automobile’s cooling system, saving you money by preventing rust and corrosion as well as costly breakdowns. The many parts of the cooling system must all work together, and something as simple as a belt breaking could destroy your engine.

A cooling system is necessary for an internal combustion engine producing temperatures that can reach 5000 degrees!

1Within the combustion chambers of the automobile’s cylinders, intense heat is generated by the burning of gasoline, used to create power to push pistons down and turn the automobile’s crankshaft. Even more heat is generated by friction created by moving parts within the engine. It is the job of the automobile’s cooling system to transfer the heat out of the engine and cool the engine, or the engine will simply melt down.

But it’s more complicated than merely cooling things down.

For most efficient performance, the engine should be neither too hot nor too cold. In fact, an engine runs best at a pretty high temperature. If the engine is not hot enough, the oil used to lubricate the engine is not thinned enough, so the engine’ parts do not move freely and wear out faster Also, if the combustion chamber is not hot enough the fuel is not completely vaporized, meaning high fuel consumption, low power, more pollution, and poor performance. So an important job of the cooling system is to allow the engine to heat up as quickly as possible, and then to keep a constant temperature.

Circulating coolant takes the heat to the radiator.

A water and anti-freeze mixture moving through passages in the engine absorb heat and carry it to the radiator where air blowing through the fins in the radiator cools the fluid down. The cooled liquid then circulates back again through the engine, gathering heat again. On cars with automatic transmissions, a separate circuit for cooling the transmission fluid is built into the radiator.

If there is an interruption of the flow of the coolant through the system because of a leak, the engine rapidly overheats. The leak could be in the radiator, heater core, hose, core plug, water pump or some other place. At Ewell Auto Service, we can use a cooling system pressure tester to simulate heat in the system and find the leak.

That little radiator cap is important.

1The cap is actually a pressure release valve. The fluid in the cooling system expands when it heats up, causing the pressure to build up. The cap is the only place this pressure can escape, so the setting of the spring on the cap determines the maximum pressure in the cooling system. The right pressure pushes the valve open, allowing coolant to escape, flow through a tube into an overflow tank. When the radiator cools back down, a vacuum is created that pulls open another spring loaded valve, sucking water back in from the overflow tank.

Then there’s the water pump, the fan and belts, the thermostat, the heater core…

The water pump keeps the coolant flowing to help cool things down. Motors and belts connected to the water pump turn the fan blowing on the radiator, so if a belt breaks, the whole system breaks down and your car overheats.

The main job of the thermostat, a complicated valve in the cooling system, is to allow the engine to heat up quickly, and then to keep the engine at a constant temperature.

Like the thermostat, the fan has to be working properly if it is to allow the engine to maintain a constant temperature.

The automobile’s heater is actually a secondary cooling system, because it takes the hot air from the system, circulates it through the interior of the car, and sends it, cooled, back into the system. The heater core is actually another small radiator. (Oddly enough, if your car is overheating, you can open all the windows and run the heater with the fan going full blast, and for a short time, it will help to cool the engine!)

Rust and corrosion in the cooling system can create expensive problems.

The coolant fluid (anti-freeze) contains a rust inhibitor, but it can finally break down. Corrosion and rust then clog up all the various plumbing parts of the system, causing overheating. Sometimes chemicals run through the system can clean it up, but often it is necessary to remove and clean the radiator.

At Mikes's Auto Service Auto Body in Rhode Island we can maintain all the complicated parts of your automobile’s cooling system, allowing you to avoid costly and unnecessary breakdowns.


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