Automobile Staying Cool and In Control

A cool head and good control of your vehicle are essential to driving safely, and your vehicle needs to stay cool, well-oiled, and capable of stopping quickly and efficiently, too. This part tells you how the cooling system works and how to maintain it, how to change your oil, how the brake system works, and what you can to do check it and maintain it. The results are A safer and longer life for both you and your vehicle

The Cooling System Up Close

With all that air, fuel, and fire stuff going on in its engine, your vehicle needs something to help it keep a cool (cylinder) head! Because water is usually cheap, plentiful, and readily available, auto manufacturers have found it to be the simplest answer to the problem.

A few have found that air is even cheaper and more abundant; they designed the air-cooled engines on the old Volkswagens, but aside from some VW bugs and air-cooled Porsches that are still on the road, there are few air-cooled vehicles available in the United States these days.

The cooling system is highly efficient. It usually requires almost no work to keep it operating — just a watchful eye for leaks and an occasional check or change of coolant. Of course, some vehicles have more complicated systems or variations on the theme, but in general, if you understand the way the basic cooling system works, you should have little trouble dealing with the one in your vehicle.

Whether you do the work yourself or have it done professionally, keeping the cooling system in good shape will go a long way toward “keeping your cool” when things heat up on the road.

This chapter explores the cooling system part by part.  shows you what to do if your vehicle overheats and how to maintain and troubleshoot the cooling system and make easy repairs. helps you get out of trouble if your car overheats on the road.


if you don’t have pre-diluted coolant, mix sufficient equal parts of water and coolant to fill your system (see “Figuring out how much coolant you need” earlier in th. The liquid should reach the “MAX” line on the coolant recovery reservoir or cover the fins in the radiator. If it doesn’t, continue to add equal parts water and coolant until it does. 10. To disperse the water and coolant evenly throughout.

You can buy products for cleaning the cooling system during the flushing process. These products remove rust and sediment that flushing with plain water can’t. If your cooling system has been cleaned regularly and you want to clean it yourself, buy a well-known brand and follow the instructions on the package carefully.

Last word

If your vehicle’s cooling system hasn’t been cleaned for a few years, using a cleaner on a system that has years of built-up rust and sediment can free so much of the stuff that you run the risk of clogging your radiator or thermostat or possibly loosening the deposits that have prevented the system from leaking. Have the system flushed, cleaned, and refilled professionally.

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