Cooling System Repair Experts in Bountiful UT
Your vehicle’s cooling system is responsible for keeping the temperature of your vehicle’s engine down in order to prevent overheating of the engine. The cooling system consists of a cooling fan, water pump, and radiator. The primary purpose of each of these parts is to dissipate and remove heat from the engine. Excess heat can build in a variety of places in your car or truck’s engine. Anti-freeze flows through your car or truck’s radiator to keep temperatures down, though the anti-freeze can break down and lose its efficiency over time. Through preventative routine maintenance, our mechanics can perform a flush and fill to replace the old anti-freeze in your car or truck’s radiator. Similarly, old coolant—a mixture of water and anti-freeze—can lead to corrosion of the cooling system’s water pump. Without an operational water pump, your vehicle’s engine is more prone to overheating. The cooling system’s cooling fan circulates air through the radiator and passes excess heat out of the engine. If the fan malfunctions, your vehicle’s engine will quickly overheat. During a cooling system service, our mechanics will check the cooling fan for damage and the drive or fan belt for cracks. Other important cooling system components, such as the pressure cap, coolant reservoir, and thermostat, will all be checked during an inspection at our facility in Bountiful, UT.
Overheating has been the most common mechanical breakdown on the road. Typically, cooling systems require servicing and maintenance from every two years to every 30,000 miles. This leaves you plenty of time to coordinate a cooling system maintenance or service for your car or truck at our facility.
Our facility in Bountiful, UT is ready to serve you and service your vehicle in times of emergencies. But why chance a breakdown? Do you want to be waiting for a tow truck when your destination is in reach because of a blown head gasket? We would be happier seeing your car or truck for preventive maintenance—like a cooling system flush or worn hoses replacement. A proactive approach to vehicle maintenance has been known to pay off in the long run. Neglecting cooling system maintenance can lead to expensive engine repairs or a radiator replacement in the future. After all, the number one cause of major engine failure is cooling system problems. That’s why we recommend spending a little now in routine maintenance to save you time and money later. Don’t wait for the 29,999 mile before you decide to schedule routine maintenance on your car or truck’s cooling system.
Cooling System, Flush & Fill
Your vehicle’s cooling system requires basic maintenance just like most relied upon car parts to…
Approx. Time: 60 Minutes
Radiator, Pressure Test
Sometimes a radiator leak can be easy to spot. The coolant might be found dripping, spraying, or…
Approx. Time: 30 Minutes
A radiator leak can mean big trouble for your vehicle’s cooling system if not attended to…
Approx. Time: 120 Minutes
Radiator (engine cooling)
Coolant being poured into the radiator of an automobile
Radiators are used for cooling internal combustion engines, mainly in automobiles but also in piston-engined aircraft, railway locomotives, motorcycles, stationary generating plant or any similar use of such an engine.
Internal combustion engines are often cooled by passing a liquid called engine coolant through the engine block, where it is heated, then through the radiator itself where it loses heat to the atmosphere, and then back to the engine in a closed loop. Engine coolant is usually water-based, but may also be oil. It is common to employ a water pump to force the engine coolant to circulate, and also for an axial fan to force air through the radiator.
Automobiles and motorcycles
In automobiles and motorcycles with a liquid-cooled internal combustion engine, a radiator is connected to channels running through the engine and cylinder head, through which a liquid (coolant) is pumped. This liquid may be water (in climates where water is unlikely to freeze), but is more commonly a mixture of water and antifreeze in proportions appropriate to the climate. Antifreeze itself is usually ethylene glycol or propylene glycol (with a small amount of corrosion inhibitor).
The radiator transfers the heat from the fluid inside to the air outside, thereby cooling the fluid, which in turn cools the engine. Radiators are also often used to cool automatic transmission fluids, air conditioner refrigerant, intake air, and sometimes to cool motor oil or power steering fluid. Radiators are typically mounted in a position where they receive airflow from the forward movement of the vehicle, such as behind a front grill. Where engines are mid- or rear-mounted, it is common to mount the radiator behind a front grill to achieve sufficient airflow, even though this requires long coolant pipes. Alternatively, the radiator may draw air from the flow over the top of the vehicle or from a side-mounted grill. For long vehicles, such as buses, side airflow is most common for engine and transmission cooling and top airflow most common for air conditioner cooling.
Automobile radiators are constructed of a pair of header tanks, linked by a core with many narrow passageways, thus a high surface area relative to its volume. This core is usually made of stacked layers of metal sheet, pressed to form channels and soldered or brazed together. For many years radiators were made from brass or copper cores soldered to brass headers. Modern radiators save money and weight by using plastic headers and may use aluminum cores. This construction is less easily repaired than traditional materials.
Honeycomb radiator tubes
An earlier construction method was the honeycomb radiator. Round tubes were swaged into hexagons at their ends, then stacked together and soldered. As they only touched at their ends, this formed what became in effect a solid water tank with many air tubes through it.
Some vintage cars use radiator cores made from coiled tube, a less-efficient but simpler construction.
Thermosysphon cooling system of 1937, without circulating pump
Radiators first used downward vertical flow, driven solely by a thermosyphon effect. Coolant is heated in the engine, becomes less dense, and so rises. As the radiator cools the fluid, the coolant becomes denser and falls. This effect is sufficient for low-power stationary engines, but inadequate for all but the earliest automobiles. All automobiles for many years have used centrifugal pumps to circulate the engine coolant because natural circulation has very low flow rates.
A system of valves or baffles, or both, is usually incorporated to simultaneously operate a small radiator inside the vehicle. This small radiator, and the associated blower fan, is called the heater core, and serves to warm the cabin interior. Like the radiator, the heater core acts by removing heat from the engine. For this reason, automotive technicians often advise operators to turn on the heater and set it to high if the engine is overheating.
Car engine thermostat
The engine temperature is primarily controlled by a wax-pellet type of thermostat, a valve which opens once the engine has reached its optimum operating temperature.
When the engine is cold, the thermostat is closed except for a small bypass flow so that the thermostat experiences changes to the coolant temperature as the engine warms up. Engine coolant is directed by the thermostat to the inlet of the circulating pump and is returned directly to the engine, bypassing the radiator. Directing water to circulate only through the engine allows the temperature to reach optimum operating temperature as quickly as possible whilst avoiding localised “hot spots.” Once the coolant reaches the thermostat’s activation temperature, it opens, allowing water to flow through the radiator to prevent the temperature rising higher.
Once at optimum temperature, the thermostat controls the flow of engine coolant to the radiator so that the engine continues to operate at optimum temperature. Under peak load conditions, such as driving slowly up a steep hill whilst heavily laden on a hot day, the thermostat will be approaching fully open because the engine will be producing near to maximum power while the velocity of air flow across the radiator is low. (The velocity of air flow across the radiator has a major effect on its ability to dissipate heat.) Conversely, when cruising fast downhill on a motorway on a cold night on a light throttle, the thermostat will be nearly closed because the engine is producing little power, and the radiator is able to dissipate much more heat than the engine is producing. Allowing too much flow of coolant to the radiator would result in the engine being over cooled and operating at lower than optimum temperature. A side effect of this would be that the passenger compartment heater would not be able to put out enough heat to keep the passengers warm. The fuel efficiency would also suffer.
The thermostat is therefore constantly moving throughout its range, responding to changes in vehicle operating load, speed and external temperature, to keep the engine at its optimum operating temperature.
Other factors influence the temperature of the engine, including radiator size and the type of radiator fan. The size of the radiator (and thus its cooling capacity) is chosen such that it can keep the engine at the design temperature under the most extreme conditions a vehicle is likely to encounter (such as climbing a mountain whilst fully loaded on a hot day).
Airflow speed through a radiator is a major influence on the heat it loses. Vehicle speed affects this, in rough proportion to the engine effort, thus giving crude self-regulatory feedback. Where an additional cooling fan is driven by the engine, this also tracks engine speed similarly.
Engine-driven fans are often regulated by a viscous-drive clutch from the drivebelt, which slips and reduces the fan speed at low temperatures. This improves fuel efficiency by not wasting power on driving the fan unnecessarily. On modern vehicles, further regulation of cooling rate is provided by either variable speed or cycling radiator fans. Electric fans are controlled by a thermostatic switch or the engine control unit. Electric fans also have the advantage of giving good airflow and cooling at low engine revs or when stationary, such as in slow-moving traffic.
Before the development of viscous-drive and electric fans, engines were fitted with simple fixed fans that drew air through the radiator at all times. Vehicles whose design required the installation of a large radiator to cope with heavy work at high temperatures, such as commercial vehicles and tractors would often run cool in cold weather under light loads, even with the presence of a thermostat, as the large radiator and fixed fan caused a rapid and significant drop in coolant temperature as soon as the thermostat opened. This problem can be solved by fitting a radiator blind to the radiator which can be adjusted to partially or fully block the airflow through the radiator. At its simplest the blind is a roll of material (such as canvas or rubber that is unfurled along the length of the radiator to cover the desired portion. Some older vehicles, like the World War I-era S.E.5 and SPAD S.XIII single-engined fighters, have a series of shutters that can be adjusted from the driver’s or pilot’s seat to provide a degree of control. Some modern cars have a series of shutters that are automatically opened and closed by the engine control unit to provide a balance of cooling and aerodynamics as needed.
These AEC Regent III RT buses are fitted with radiator blinds, seen here covering the lower half of the radiators.
Because the thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines increases with internal temperature, the coolant is kept at higher-than-atmospheric pressure to increase its boiling point. A calibrated pressure-relief valve is usually incorporated in the radiator’s fill cap. This pressure varies between models, but typically ranges from 9 psi (0.6 bar) to 15 psi (1.0 bar).
As the coolant expands with increasing temperature, its pressure in the closed system must increase. Ultimately, the pressure relief valve opens, and excess fluid is dumped into an overflow container. Fluid overflow ceases when the thermostat modulates the rate of cooling to keep the temperature of the coolant at optimum. When the engine coolant cools and contracts (as conditions change or when the engine is switched off), the fluid is returned to the radiator through additional valving in the cap.
Before World War II, engine coolant was usually plain water. Antifreeze was used solely to control freezing, and this was often only done in cold weather.
Development in high-performance aircraft engines required improved coolants with higher boiling points, leading to the adoption of glycol or water-glycol mixtures. These led to the adoption of glycols for their antifreeze properties.
Since the development of aluminium or mixed-metal engines, corrosion inhibition has become even more important than antifreeze, and in all regions and seasons.
Boiling or overheating
On this type of system, if the coolant in the overflow container gets too low, fluid transfer to overflow will cause an increased loss by vaporizing the engine coolant.
Severe engine damage can be caused by overheating, by overloading or system defect, when the coolant is evaporated to a level below the water pump. This can happen without warning, because at that point, the sending units are not exposed to the coolant to indicate the excessive temperature.
Opening a hot radiator drops the system pressure immediately and may cause a sudden ebullition of super-heated coolant. Therefore, since opening the cap on a hot radiator can result in steam burns to the unwary person, radiator caps often contains a mechanism that attempts to relieve the internal pressure before the cap can be fully opened.
The invention of the automobile water radiator is attributed to Karl Benz. Wilhelm Maybach designed the first honeycomb radiator for the Mercedes 35hp.
It is sometimes necessary for a car to be equipped with a second, or auxiliary, radiator to increase the cooling capacity, when the size of the original radiator cannot be increased. The second radiator is plumbed in series with the main radiator in the circuit. This was the case when the Audi 100 was first turbocharged creating the 200. These are not to be confused with intercoolers.
Some engines have an oil cooler, a separate small radiator to cool the engine oil. Cars with an automatic transmission often have extra connections to the radiator, allowing the transmission fluid to transfer its heat to the coolant in the radiator. These may be either oil-air radiators, as for a smaller version of the main radiator. More simply they may be oil-water coolers, where an oil pipe is inserted inside the water radiator. As water is denser than air, this offers comparable cooling (within limits) from a less complex and thus cheaper oil cooler. Less commonly, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and other hydraulic fluids may be cooled by an auxiliary radiator on a vehicle.
Turbo charged or supercharged engines may have an intercooler, which is an air-to-air or air-to-water radiator used to cool the incoming air charge—not to cool the engine.
Schedule an appointment now or contact us for a quote on a routine cooling system maintenance service. Our staff is ready to offer you the best and most affordable cooling system repair services in the Davis County / Bountiful, UT area.