Your radiator protects your engine and air conditioning condenser from overheating. It
also plays an important role with the computer controlled system.
engine temperature sensor actually tells the computer what the engine temperature is so the computer can
adjust the air and fuel mixture and engine timing. The efficiency of the radiator directly effects the
efficiency of your engine.
That's why flushing the cooling system and
pH balancing the coolant is recommended at least once every
Our coolant system power flush removes
contaminates. We pressure test the cooling system for leaks,
clean the recovery bottle and pressure test the radiator
cap. The system is then refilled with the proper mix of
coolant and water to reach the -35 degrees for winter
We’re often asked questions about the
cooling system – the system that cools your engine
and keeps it at the proper operating temperature. Let’s examine
the topic in two areas: first the coolant itself and, second, the
parts that make up the cooling system.
your car or light truck is the mix of water and
circulates through the engine to draw off heat. First, you need to
have the proper amount. If you don’t have enough coolant it can’t
keep your engine cool.
You also need the
kind of coolant. Different makes of sedans and other
vehicles require different coolant formulation to
Be Careful Removing The Radiator Cap!
The radiator’s heat and pressure build up to dangerous levels when a car is running.
Serious injury can come from removing the cap from a hot engine. If too much pressure has built up, removing the cap
can send boiling water and steam up and out in all directions. Allowing the car to sit for around 30 minutes will
ensure the pressure and temperature has dropped to a safe level before you attempt to remove the radiator cap. Most
caps have a clear warning label on the outside of the cap itself warning about this important step.
Finally, your coolant needs to be fresh. Over time and miles, the
anti-corrosion additives in the coolant are depleted and the
coolant can actually start to eat away at the cooling system
parts. Your owner’s manual and our
service adviser can help you with the
recommended coolant replacement schedule and make
sure you’re getting the right type of coolant.
Now let’s talk about the
cooling system components. These will all eventually wear
out and need to be replaced.
Starting with the
radiator, we see them coming into the shop with leaks or
clogged with deposits. Depending on the damage, we will clean,
repair or replace. We also see radiator pressure caps
that can no longer hold the proper pressure. We recommend
replacing pressure caps when you change your coolant to avoid this
leaky water pumps and
hoses in our area that need to be replaced, too.
There’s also a part called the thermostat that
opens and closes to regulate the flow of coolant. Sometimes they
stick open or closed and the cooling system won’t work
Engine damage from overheating
can be very expensive to fix so it’s important to maintain your
cooling system properly with scheduled
coolant replacement and periodic inspections of the cooling
system. Certainly come in if you suspect a leak and have us take a
DID YOU KNOW?
The water pump's like the heart of your cooling system,
circulating the fluid throughout. It's a small pump that's driven by the engine: usually by belt, but sometimes by a
chain or gear. The water pump only operates when the engine's running. Water pump failure is pretty routine for St.
Charles . Some start failing at around 40,000 miles, but most fail by 100,000 miles. Consult your owners' manual or
Sparks Tire & Auto to see what's recommended. Since a water pump either works or it doesn't, you need to change it
when it fails. Water pumps fail in one of two ways: the bearings fail or they begin to leak. It's possible to have a
leak from a cracked water pump, but it usually leaks at the gasket where it attaches to the engine. For a cooling
system inspection, call Sparks Tire & Auto... (Read
Sparks Tire & Auto Advice on Your Cooling System
Last week I was out running errands in St. Charles and my
temperature warning light came on – total panic! I pulled over and
my car was overheating. After it cooled down, I went right into my
St. Charles service center to have them take a look. My service
advisor at Sparks Tire & Auto told me my water pump was leaking
and needed to be replaced. He said water pumps just wear out and
that you need to replace them because they pump the coolant that
cools the engine.
He told me they checked out my radiator hoses, serpentine belt and
tensioner and that they were OK. But I was overdue for changing my
coolant – like, embarrassingly overdue. I didn't realize there was
a schedule in my owner's manual for when to change my coolant. My
Sparks Tire & Auto service professional said that the coolant
actually becomes corrosive over time and could damage my radiator,
head gaskets, intake manifold gaskets, heater core, metal cooling
pipes, expansion (frost) plugs, etc. That's why Sparks Tire & Auto
recommends changing the fluid on schedule.
So, Sparks Tire & Auto replaced the coolant with the kind my
owner's manual recommends. I learned there are different kinds of
coolant and you need to use the right one. I was on my way. It
feels good knowing my cooling system is healthy and I don't need
to worry about it.
Smart St. Louis Drivers Protect Against OVERHEATING
Engines get hot when they run. This heat can build up and damage
vital engine parts, so engines need a cooling system to keep them
running. Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical
failure in vehicles.
is unfortunate, because these failures are usually easy for St.
Louis drivers to prevent.
The radiator is the best-known and most recognizable part of the
cooling system. Hoses filled with coolant (also known as
antifreeze) connect the radiator to the engine. The coolant draws
heat from the engine, and then flows to the radiator. Air passing
through cooling fins on the radiator cools the coolant. The
coolant then cycles back into the engine to start the process over
The most critical component of the cooling system, however, is the
coolant itself. A mixture of water and coolant/antifreeze helps
keep it both from freezing and from boiling away. Either can
result in serious engine damage.
Different engines require different types of coolant/antifreeze.
The owner’s manual will list what kind a vehicle requires. Using
the wrong type or mixing different types of may void the warranty
on the cooling system and may damage it as well.
Insufficient coolant can lead to engine failure. Coolant levels
need to be checked regularly and topped off as necessary. If
coolant levels drop quickly or consistently, the cooling system
should be inspected for leaks. Coolant/antifreeze contains
additives that protect the radiator and other coolant components
from rust, scale and corrosion. Over time, these additives are
depleted, so it is necessary for St. Louis drivers to replace
coolant at specified intervals. Changing coolant should be part of
routine preventive maintenance for any vehicle.
This service is often ignored, though, since old coolant still
cools the engine. Vehicle owners don’t realize there is a problem
until the system fails. They are left with major repairs and
possibly a damaged engine, which could have been prevented with a
cooling system service at Sparks Tire & Auto in St. Charles
If your sedan sends a warning message to check its coolant or if
the temperature gauge is reading in the red or hot zone, then the
cooling system needs an automotive analysis. This service is
critical and should not be put off since the potential for damage
In an emergency situation, water or antifreeze can be added to
your sedan so that it can be driven to a service center for proper
car care. For this reason, owner’s manual contains instructions
for how to top off insufficient coolant – allow 45 minutes for the
engine to cool before attempting to add coolant or water. However,
the fluid should be added to the coolant overflow bottle, not to
the radiator itself. Removing the radiator pressure cap can result
in severe burns.
Topping off in an emergency, however, does not fix the problem.
The vehicle should immediately be taken to Sparks Tire & Auto
where they can inspect the cooling system, repair any leaks, and
clean it if necessary. They can identify what caused the emergency
situation in the first place and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Regular maintenance of a vehicle’s cooling system is just good
auto advice for St. Louis drivers. Cooling system service is
relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take long at Sparks Tire &
Auto. Lack of it, however, can put a vehicle in the scrap heap.