Below, I’ll give you a brief overview of the three main parts that make up your vehicle’s cooling system. I’ll explain the job they do and how they help ensure your engine doesn’t overheat.
The “secret” behind your cooling system’s effectiveness is the coolant. It circulates throughout the engine and surrounding components, absorbing much of the excess heat along the way. Then, it travels into the radiator which is cooled by constant airflow.
In order to circulate, the coolant must be pumped along its path. This is the job of the water pump. It’s powered by your car’s timing belt, though older models might have a flat belt that powers the pump. If the timing belt breaks, it cannot operate the water pump, which will ultimately prevent the coolant from circulating and absorbing the heat.
By plumbing, I’m referring to the auto parts through which the coolant travels. That includes a network of hoses, valves, and the radiator. It also includes the heater core, but that’s less important for this discussion. We’re mainly concerned with the hoses. Because the hot coolant travels through them continuously, they deteriorate quickly. A lot of car enthusiasts recommend replacing the hoses every three years. However, you should check them for cracks and fissures every four months. The hoses are relatively inexpensive, so if you notice crack – even small ones – replace them.