The cooling system is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. It requires regular inspection and maintenance of all the components to ensure optimum performance. At heart of the cooling system is the radiator. This wonderful invention is responsible for cooling the engine coolant and maintaining system temperatures. Bigger engines, higher horsepower and air conditioning will quickly find the limit of an inadequately sized radiator or poorly maintained components. Even a small failure will have you on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. Use the following five tech tips to help you keep your car on the road and your cooling system happy.
OPGI’s Top 5 Tech Tips: Cooling System
#1. Make sure that your current radiator or new radiator is the adequate size for your particular application. A radiator that is too small for any application will not provide adequate cooling especially if you plan on having air conditioning. Engine size, power output and accessories will dictate what radiator you should run. For example, using a radiator for a 6-cylinder car that has a 500 hp big-block swap will be inadequate. Call OPGI at 800-243-8355 and we’ll help you determine the correct radiator for your car.
#2. Check to make sure your radiator is not clogged. Symptoms of this are overheating while at freeway speeds, but normal operating temps when driving around town. Visually inspect the core of the radiator. Are the fins excessively beat up or blocked with debris? Make sure the exterior of the radiator is clean and not damaged. Open the radiator cap and look inside; can you see excessive build-up of deposits on the tubes? Using a radiator flush may help depending on how bad the build-up is. Also, use an infrared thermometer and check the temps at different spots on the radiator. If the results are wildly different from one spot to the next, that could also indicate a blockage.
#3. A properly operating thermostat is essential. Sometimes the coolest thermostat is not always better, so make sure you have one that fits your needs. If your application requires a 195° thermostat, then use it. Never run your vehicle without a thermostat, which could lead to drivability issues.
#4. Fan shrouds are essential to cooling system performance. When these cars were built, they were designed to be used with the correct fan shroud and fan. Make sure that the shroud is not missing or cracked and that the fan does not have any damage. If using electric fans, make sure the air flow (CFM) is enough to provide an adequate amount cool air through the radiator to keep the engine cool.
#5. Inspect your cooling system components regularly. It’s always a good idea to inspect your cooling system on a regular basis. Check for obvious leaks around the hoses, thermostat housing, water pump, radiator and freeze plugs. Is the seal on your radiator cap cracked? Do your hoses look like they have seen better days? Are the hose clamps old and rusted? Be safe and replace. A little investment in maintenance now will save lots of money down the road.
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