Maintaining The Cooling System Of Your Car

by IndianAuto Team | 28/05/2019
Share this post:
To keep your commute through the cities, you need a car with perfect condition and there’s one thing have to be noticed every time before you start your journey. Apart from the periodic maintenance, your car’s cooling system is the next mandatory checkpoint that needs attention every time before you start your journey.

Some people might even think why the cooling system of the car is one of the most important things to be checked often when there are more mechanical attributes. The thing is, the cooling system of your car is one of the essential units that need attention all the time. Think if you’re taking your out for a drive without checking the coolant oil level for instance and what will happen is your car getting overheated by the time you keep driving and it may even end up in a ceased engine to say the least.

automotive cooling system inspection

The basic Cooling system of a car

In order to keep enjoying your journey with a smile on your face and also for the concerns of safety for both you and your car, we have provided here some of the tips to keep your car’s cooling system timely maintained for the betterment of your drive.

Coolant Level

coolant level

Coolant level is the first and foremost thing to be noticed every time

There’s no introduction needed to discuss much to check the coolant level in your car as most people have the basic knowledge to keep the coolant at its optimum level. If there’s enough amount of coolant in your car, then there is no need to worry about the summer heat and the higher temperatures developed in the engine during its operation.

Some modern vehicles come with coolant expansion tank nowadays and if your car is one of them, remove the cap from the expansion tank and fill the coolant/antifreeze agent up to the cold level or hot level mark as mentioned by the manufacturer. In such cases, if your car does not have an expansion cap, don’t need to worry and fill the coolant by removing the radiator cap. Ensure that before you open the radiator cap, the engine should be in off condition and it should not be opened immediately after turning the ignition off.

Antifreeze Strength

antifreeze hydrometer

Hydrometers are used to check both the quality of batteries and coolant 

Before filling the coolant or antifreeze agent inside the cooling system of your car, you have to ensure that the coolant has enough strength to cool the engine even in hot temperatures. The quality of the coolant can be measured easily with the help of hydrometer.

Hydrometers are basically a tool that is used to test the specific gravity of the batteries and to check the coolant’s strength, hydrometers help often. There are different types of hydrometers available in the market including the float type and ball type ones. One of the most commonly used types is float hydrometer and the name itself depicts that it uses a float to indicate the coolant’s quality. Squeeze the knob at the top and insert the float tube inside the coolant and after releasing the knob and taking out the hydrometer, there’s some quantity of coolant being sucked inside the tube and higher the level it indicates the higher the quality of the coolant.

Testing the Thermostat


A thermostat is a major component of the cooling system that allows the coolant flow 

The thermostat is the opening and closing gate in simple words that allows the coolant to flow through the engine coolant circuit and cuts off whenever necessary. To check the thermostat that is working properly or not, there’s a simple method to test.

Suspend the thermostat from your car’s cooling system in a solution of coolant and heat it to approximately 25 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the temperature that is mentioned in the thermostat. At this point, the thermostat must open and let the coolant flow through it. Then let the solution to cool down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit lesser than the minimum temperature stamped on the thermostat and at this point, the thermostat must close and stops the coolant flowing through it.

By observing that the thermostat is not working properly one should immediately replace the thermostat.

Inspecting the Connections

coolant hose

Loose connections may lead to coolant leakage

Loose connections and worn out hoses may lead to improper cooling that there is a probability that the hoses allow the air flow inside the coolant circuit or it may have a probability of leakage of the coolant.

Ensure that all the connections are fitted tight and also ensure the quality of the hoses that they are in good working condition.

Checking Exhaust Gas Leakage in the Coolant System

Exhaust gas that comes out of the combustion chamber will be in the hot condition and if it flows through the coolant circuit, it will corrode the radiator and other components. It can be found out easily with the help of exhaust gas analyzer that detects the exhaust fumes flowing through the cooling system.

After removing the radiator cap, hold the analyzer’s probe at the neck of the filler. It will automatically detect if there are any exhaust gases present inside the coolant system. Make sure that the probe should not get in contact with the coolant directly.

Checking the Radiator Cap

radiator cap

The radiator cap must be opened when the engine is in cold condition

The radiator cap is one of the essential parts that prevent the loss of coolant. While inspecting through the parameters one should never miss to check the radiator cap. With the help of pressure tester and a special adaptor, the radiator cap’s pressure can be found easily.

If you found the radiator cap doesn’t withstand sufficient pressure then it should have to be replaced immediately.

Pressure Test the Cooling System

pressure tester

Pressure testing is a simple process that can be done at home

It may happen very rarely, but you can test the pressure inside the cooling system of your easily with the help of radiator pressure tester. Follow the steps to check the pressure easily.

  1. Fill the radiator with coolant up to a ½ inch below the filler neck.

  2. Wipe off the sealing surface and then fix the tester.

  3. Apply pressure through the pressure tester pump not greater than 3 PSI above the specification provided by the manufacturer.

  4. If you find the pressure is handling steadily then there’s no leak.

  5. If the pressure drops by the time, then there’s a leak in the cooling system.

  6. Keep the engine in warm condition at around 3000rpm and check the needle of the pressure tester. If the needle fluctuates, then there’s a gas leak.

If you found there’s a leak in the coolant system take your car to the authorized service centre immediately to get it fixed.

Testing the Drive Belt

serpentine belt

Check the drive belt once after a specified time frame provided by the manufacturer

Water pump or coolant pump is driven through a belt drive. There are two types of belts that are commonly used to drive the water pump. One of them is a V-belt and the other is a serpentine belt. If you hear any squealing noise inside or outside the car when in the engine running condition then it may be the case that the belt may be in loose condition or slipping to run through. Note that while checking the drive belt, the engine must be in off condition.

Also Read - Eight Tips For Keeping Your Car Cool In The Summer

If your car runs V-belt, touch and hold the belt down and twist it to find if there are any cracks, splits or tears in the belt. If you find any damages, then it should have to be replaced immediately. Some car features double V-belt and such cases, it is better to replace both of them at the same time.

In case of the serpentine belt that drives the water pump, look out for frayed cords or any excessive wear that may lead to slippage while running. Serpentine belts mostly come with belt tensioner that can be adjusted periodically. Also, check for any wear in the tensioner while inspecting the belt. It is recommended that the tensioner can be replaced after the vehicle crosses 1 Lakh Kilometers. While replacing the serpentine belt, make sure that all the ribs fix into the grooves of the pulley properly.

Read more tips and guides from IndianAuto

Tracking icon
Would you like to receive notifications with latest news and car deals from IndianAuto?