Your car has two cooling systems. I like to describe them in this way: one is the engine cooling system and the other is the people cooling system. We talked about the people cooling system, otherwise known as the Air Conditioning (AC) system, in last week’s article. A proper operating engine cooling system is critical to a well operating AC system. The evolution of the engine cooling system has changed due to the changes in technology as well as the need for the car manufacturers to increase fuel economy.
Remember the old radiator in your car? It was made of copper-brass, was very heavy, but was repairable. Today’s car uses a radiator that has an aluminum core with plastic tanks, is much lighter, but it is not repairable. Along with this aluminum –plastic radiator, the radiator and heater hoses have also changed. Do you remember having to change the radiator and heater hoses every four years or so to prevent a break down? I remember working on an 1984 Ford Thunderbird early in my career that the upper radiator hose burst with only 27,000 miles on the odometer. Nowadays the hoses on your car can last 100,000 miles. Much of the reason that the hoses last longer is the antifreeze/coolants are better, the hoses are better, and the design of the entire engine cooling system is better. However, it is still important to have your engine cooling system inspected on a yearly basis to insure that it will give you trouble free operation. After all, who wants to be stuck on the side of the road with a failed cooling system in this heat?