Cooling system failure is the number one cause of vehicle breakdowns. Because there often are no visible warning signs of deterioration, radiator and cooling system maintenance service is frequently overlooked by vehicle owners.
Your engine constantly burns fuel and therefore gets very hot. In fact, the temperatures inside the combustion chamber may reach 4,500°. It is the job of the cooling system to carry this potentially harmful heat away from the engine to the outside air. To do this, a coolant mixture of water and anti-freeze is circulated through the engine block. The coolant absorbs heat from the engine and is pumped by the water pump through hoses to the radiator. Once the radiator transfers the heat from the engine to the outside air, the coolant circulates back to the engine and the cycle begins again.
To keep this important system working properly, vehicle manufacturers recommend that this system be serviced at specified time or mileage intervals. Over time, the rust inhibitors and additives in the coolant may lose their anti-corrosive properties leaving particles and debris to build up within the system. These contaminants can block passages within the radiator and reduce its ability to keep the engine running at the optimal temperature. To remove this build-up, many service providers perform a radiator “drain-and-fill.”