Your car’s cooling system provides a vital function that keeps the engine running properly. All car engines produce a lot of heat, and the excess must be removed for them to operate at an acceptable temperature. So your vehicle cooling system actually performs three functions:
- Removal of heat from the engine
- Maintaining the engine temperature at the optimal level when running
- Bringing the engine up to the right temperature for it to work properly
You start to see that without a properly functioning cooling system, your car will not run very well for long.
Signs of Auto Cooling System Trouble
There are several different ways you can tell if your car’s cooling system is malfunctioning:
Temperature gauge – if the temp gauge on your car’s dashboard starts to move toward the warning area, it means that your engine is operating at a higher than optimal temperature. Should it enter into that warning area, your car is overheating – you should pull over immediately. Continuing to drive in this fashion will cause the engine to shut down and potentially cause serious damage to it.
Smoke under the hood – that “smoke” is actually steam from water that’s reached the boiling point. Pull over immediately and stop the engine in order to avoid damaging it.
Low coolant – If you lift your hood, you will find that your car’s cooling tank will show the optimal level of coolant with a line or dash. If your coolant level has fallen below that level, it’s a sign of either a leak or some other type of malfunction with the cooling system.
White exhaust – the presence of puffs of white exhaust smoke usually indicates that coolant is being burned within the engine system. This will ultimately lead to the vehicle overheating due to the depleted coolant. The engine and cooling system need immediate servicing – diagnosis and repair as necessary.
Car Cooling Systems are Complex
You’re absolutely right if you feel that assessing and repairing your car’s cooling system is not a do-it-yourself type job. If you notice any of the above symptoms, get your car to a qualified mechanic promptly. You’ll avoid much more costly engine repairs by taking immediate action at the first signs of cooling system problems.