Engine Cooling Basics
by Pat Goss
So, you’re a do-it-yourselfer and you try to take good care of the cooling system on your car. Well, it’s really easy today to make some mistakes in doing that.
First, always make sure that the coolant that you buy for your car matches the requirements in your owner’s manual. See, one size may fit your car, may fit most cars, but one size usually doesn’t fit all cars. So, you look at the label on the back of the container to make sure that it has the proper specifications as outlined in your owner’s manual. Alright, that’s number one…proper coolant.
Number two. Always mix it with distilled water. And the way you do that is before you pour anything back into the cooling system or put it in at any time, you mix coolant and distilled water fifty-fifty, then you put the mix in. Alright, so that part of it is pretty easy.
Now, a lot of you seem to think that if a little bit of coolant or anti-freeze is good, then a whole lot is better. Namely, you don’t put any water in it--you just put pure anti-freeze in your radiator. Well, here we have pure anti-freeze. It has a bolt in it. The bolt is all rusty. But look what happens over here. We mixed it fifty-fifty with distilled water and the bolt is still shiny and bright. You have to have the water mixed with the anti-freeze or coolant--whatever you want to call it--to make it work properly.
Now, here’s one that will really cost you. Sooner or later you’re going to put new hoses on your cooling system. And when you do that, you take the original equipment clamps off and you throw them away. And you go out and you but these worm-drive clamps. Well, don’t do it.
You see, worm-drive clamps, when you tighten them down, there’s a pressure point right under where the screw is in them. And, on plastic neck radiators…which is virtually all cars these days…with heating and cooling over time, it causes the plastic inside the hose to crack and eventually the hose just falls off because the radiator is destroyed.
Save the original clamps or buy replacements from the dealer and use that type of clamp, as opposed to the worm-drive, because it is far, far better for these plastic radiators.
And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.