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Car and Truck Cooling Systems

A typical combustion engine works through controlled explosions and ignition of gasoline inside the automobile engine. This process dissipates a lot of heat, which is why a cooling system is necessary for any engine-driven vehicle. The cooling system manages the heat produced, thus barring the car, preventing overheating.

How does coolant fluid work?

Also known as antifreeze, it circulates through the cooling system, collecting heat produced by the engine. It does so by flowing through the radiator, where it is cooled before returning to begin the cycle over again. By keeping the engine and the radiator at the appropriate temperature, it acts like a misting fan during summer and a warm blanket during winter.

What types of engine coolants are there?

There are three coolant types, all of which contain ethylene glycol, the active ingredient in antifreeze. Other cooling components include dye and water. The main difference comes about in the coolant's additives. Some types of antifreeze include:

  • Dexcool: There are an array of dexcool formulants, all of which contain organic acid additives that offer protection against corrosion. It is able to remain in the system for longer periods, sometimes up to 170,000 miles.
  • Conventional green antifreeze: It is quite basic with the shortest lifespan. It has anticorrosive additives, thus providing extra corrosion protection. It will likely need a replacement every two years.
  • Hybrid OAT antifreeze: They are used in regular cars, providing a fast-acting formula for up to 150,000 miles. They were designed to solve coolant compatibility issues. Prior to using it, read the label and verify that it meets your car's standards.
What can cause your car to overheat?

There are several reasons why a car can reach its boiling point and overheat. A few reasons include issues such as:

  • Lack of coolant: This usually happens due to a leak in the system. The car can overheat after just a few miles. The hotness is as a result of a coolant shortage.
  • Lack of circulation: This is usually the result of a bad water pump or water pump belt, a plugged radiator, or a closed thermostat. If the engine heats up more around town, but it's usually fine on the highway, then there is probably a problem with the radiator's airflow. This typically translates to a bad electric fan or a bad fan clutch.
  • The engine uses up the coolant: This issue is typically caused by a broken engine block or a bad head gasket. One of the symptoms of this problem is water in the oil.