Springtime maintenance is usually done after cleaning your house. That means you'll probably find all kinds of parts and goodies that you've hidden away. Here are some maintenance steps which may help you keep cool while driving this summer.

Check Hoses for:

  • Cracks (mean hose is old);
  • Weakness, swelling, poor rubber quality;
  • Age (more than two years old);
  • Loose hose clamps;
  • Hoses over-compressed from clamps.

Renew Antifreeze if it is:

  • More than two years old;
  • Contaminated by rust, dirt or sludge;
  • Overheated or run hot for extended periods;
  • Diluted less than 50 percent mix

Inspect Water Pump for:

  • Play in shaft or noisy operation;
  • Leaking from seal vent (lower side);
  • Loose cooling fan or broken blade; l
  • Loose bolts from air compressor bracket.

Check Fan Belt for:

  • Cracking, stretching, fraying.

Check Alternator for:

  • Worn bushings (alternator may hit fan), worn bracket, noisy bearings.

Thermostat

with engine warmed up 10-20 minutes, turn engine off and immediately check:

  • Bottom radiator hose (if hot, O.K.; if cold, replace);
  • Hose from thermostat to radiator (should be hot);
  • Water temperature (use gauge) and inspect for flow.

Check Radiator for:

  • Cold spots; leaks;
  • Deposits in core (visual inspection necessary);
  • Swelling in tank area;
  • Old or weak pressure cap.

SYMPTOMS AND SOLUTIONS

The car will overheat for these reasons:
A. Not enough coolant
B. Restricted radiator
C. Thermostat stuck closed
D. Blown or badly leaking head gasket
E. Loose impeller on water pump
F. Collapsed water hoses
G. Poor flow through engine from deposits
H. Poor cooling action
I. Trash or debris in front of radiator
J. Incorrect timing
K. Mechanical defects, cracks, seizing bearings or other parts
L. Lack of oil

Any or all of the above reasons will cause overheating. The list should cover almost everything. If not, drink two shots of milk of magnesia and think about it in the morning. It could be electrical.

Try to find your car's problem in the list of symptoms below. Then check it with the diagnoses above. If you're not able to cover it with those listed, check with your mechanic the problem could be serious.

  1. Overheats immediately, never cools to normal check all.
  2. Overheats immediately, then cools to normal check A, B, C, E, F
  3. Overheats immediately, cools when moving check B, D, E, G, H, I, J
  4. Overheats only after long operating periods check A, B, G, H, I
  5. Overheats immediately, sounds bad clanks and rattles check A, E, K, L
  6. Overheats immediately, smokes, no power check A, K, L

Author: Paul Broyles