Why Is Cooling System Maintenance So Important in Winter?
You probably know that coolant (a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water) prevents freezeups in the winter as well as boilovers in the summer. But why is it so crucial to your vehicle’s heating?
The cooling system in your vehicle is a closed loop consisting mainly of the radiator, water pump, radiator fan, thermostat, and heater core. The water pump is driven by the engine and circulates coolant through the engine’s water jackets to disperse heat. Coolant is then passed through the radiator, where the fins and tubes act as a heat sink, with the radiator fan providing more heat dispersal. Part of this circuit is the heater core, which is located under the passenger side floorboard or behind the dash. The heater core is like a mini-radiator which uses the excess heat from the engine to warm the passenger compartment, along with the heater fan and ducts.
Coolant does contain anticorrosion agents that help prevent the buildup of scale in the system, and newer antifreeze formulas can go for a longer period between changes. Scale and corrosion can still accumulate, though, and can become a real problem when it builds up to a point of restricting flow through the radiator, water pump, and heater core. If things are left too long, you can end up with a poorly-performing cooling system, and that means a poorly-performing heater core as well.
Can’t remember when your last coolant flush was? No worries – it’s easy to test the condition of the coolant and recommend service. Don’t go through this winter with a weak heater, though…make an appointment with us at Boyd’s Tire & Service in Columbus, OH before the winter weather sets in!