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  • Cooling System Components

    Mar 27, 2022

    Today we want to talk about a system in our vehicles – the cooling system. It's one of those things that Brooklyn Park auto owners don't give much thought to until it fails and then they're stranded by the side of a road in MN.

    Cooling systems fail more often than any other mechanical system – usually because of neglect. Don't you hate it when something breaks and you could have done something to prevent it?

    The good news is that if Brooklyn Park drivers take care of their cooling systems, they can keep working for the life of their car.

    Here at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park, we emphasize preventive maintenance services like replacing your coolant according to the factory schedule. But the various parts that make up the cooling system need attention too. The major components of the cooling system are the water pump, freeze plugs, the thermostat, radiator, cooling fans, the heater core, the pressure cap, the overflow tank and the hoses.

    It sounds complicated, but we Brooklyn Park residents don't have to be experts – we can leave that to our friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Affordable Transmissions. But, having an overview will help us remember how to take care of your car's cooling system.

    Most Brooklyn Park folks would be surprised to know that burning fuel in your engine produces up to 4,500 degrees F/2,500 degrees C of heat. And all that heat has to be dealt with. If the heat can't be drawn off the engine, the pistons will literally weld themselves to the inside of the cylinders – then you just have to throw the engine away and get a new one. That would cost thousands of dollars.

    Now the water pump is what forces the coolant through passages in the vehicle engine to absorb heat. The pump is driven by a belt that needs replacement from time to time. And the water pump will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Spending some cash on replacing the belts and water pump is much less than the cost of repairing the extremely massive damage that can be done when an engine seizes.

    There's another little known but important part of the coolant system that protects the engine. It's called a freeze plug. If you remember from high school chemistry, water expands when it freezes. In very cold areas, the coolant can actually freeze when the vehicle is left sitting.

    It is hard to believe, but the expanding frozen coolant is enough to actually crack the engine block. The freeze plugs fit into the engine block. They fit tight enough to withstand the pressure of a running engine, but can expand or pop out if the coolant freezes. These little things save a lot of engine blocks.

    The team at Affordable Transmissions can check your cooling system and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. Give us a call.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    How to Radiate Cool (Radiator Care)

    Jul 11, 2021

    There's nothing that radiates cool like a vehicle radiator that's helping to keep your engine running at the proper temperature.  You don't have to baby it, but you can't simply ignore it, either. 

    Let's take a quick dive under the hood to let you know what the radiator is doing.  It takes the heat your engine produces and moves that heat outside.  It's not an easy job and heat is an engine's number one enemy.  Now that you're thinking how nice you want to be to your radiator, we have a couple of ideas how you can take care of it.

    The easiest thing is to pay attention to your vehicle's temperature gauge. If it gets in the "too hot" or "not hot enough" range, have it checked out soon.  Make sure your coolant is kept at the correct level and if you see a trend that you have to add coolant more than a couple of times a year, you might have a leak.

    Even if there are no obvious problems, every couple of years or so, consider taking your vehicle in for radiator maintenance.  A technician can run a pressure check for leaks and ensure that the thermostat and radiator cap are working correctly.  The technician will check that fans are running like they should so they can move air over the radiator and heat away from the coolant inside.

    Ask your service advisor when you should have your radiator flushed and coolant replaced according to the manufacturer's recommended intervals.  In addition to cooling, coolant has corrosion inhibitors which stop working after a while.  Without those corrosion inhibitors, the inside of your radiator can literally start rotting away.  Keep in mind that the coolant level must be kept at manufacturer's specifications since if those corrosion-preventing chemicals aren't touching the metal, they're not preventing corrosion. 

    Different vehicles use different coolants, so your service facility will make sure yours is getting the correct one.  Keep your coolant system happy and one day, maybe you can order up a custom license plate, "RAY-D-8."

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Too Hot to Handle (Vehicle Overheating)

    May 2, 2021

    In the hot weather, seeing steam coming from the engine compartment is something we all dread.  No one wants that to happen to them. But if you know the signs of overheating and how to deal with it, you may be able to reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle, maybe even prevent getting stranded on the road.

    Besides the steam coming out of the engine compartment, here are a few signs of overheating.  Your vehicle has a heat gauge that may have a needle that can go into a red zone or up to the "H" (for High) position.  You may smell odors, perhaps a burning (could be hot oil) or a sweet smell (engine coolant leaking). 

    When you encounter any of those signs, you know you have to do something to keep the engine as cool as possible to avoid potentially catastrophic damage.  Turn off the air conditioning and turn up the heat.  While that last part may sound odd, it helps draw heat out of the engine. 

    If you can do it safely, pull off the road to a spot away from traffic.  Turn off the engine so it can cool down for a few minutes.  You may want to call for help at this point, then switch on the key to "accessory" position to see if the engine has cooled down to the normal range.  You may have to have your car towed to a service facility or, if there's one nearby, you may be able to slowly drive to it.  But keep your eye on the heat gauge and immediately stop if it starts to overheat again. 

    The best hedge against engine overheating is regular maintenance.  When the cooling system and other engine components are working like they should, your chances of an overheated engine are drastically reduced.  Your service facility will keep their eyes open for leaking hoses, cracked belts, rusted pipes and other things so they don't fail at the most inopportune time.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Not So Hot in Brooklyn Park

    Nov 22, 2020

    When the weather turns cold, it's nice to crank up the furnace and enjoy the heat. But if your home's furnace doesn't work, it's not too comfortable. Same goes with your vehicle. When the heater's not working, things can get miserable. It could also signal some major problems, which we'll discuss later.

    A vehicle's heating system is fairly complicated. It's made up of several parts, including a blower motor/fan, a heater core and some mechanical and electrical components. In basic terms, a vehicle's engine warms up coolant which is then sent to the heater core (which is kind of like a small radiator) behind the dash. That blower motor sends cold air through the heater core which heats up the air. Voila! Heat.

    Diagnosing problems in this system takes a trained mechanic because of the different possible issues. Your heater core may need replacing; they are sometimes in tight spots and may be difficult to work on. Another possible problem could be a defective thermostat, which regulates how the coolant flows through the engine. You may have a leak somewhere in your cooling system. Those leaks may be something as simple as a detached hose clamp or as serious as a bad head gasket. A knowledgeable technician at Affordable Transmissions will be able to track the problems down.

    For those reasons, it's wise to get your vehicle's heating system repaired. Not only can driving an unheated vehicle on a cold day freeze your fingers, some related engine problems that are not repaired could leave you stranded.

    Smart drivers keep up the maintenance on their vehicle's cooling system; it's a hot tip to prevent a cold vehicle.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Engine Hydration for Brooklyn Park Drivers: Role of Your Water Pump

    May 31, 2020

    The cooling system in an engine has five components: the radiator, the radiator cap, the hoses, the thermostat and the water pump. The water is literally the heart of the system. Just as your own heart keeps your blood circulating through your body, the water pump keeps coolant circulating through your engine.

    The water pump is driven by a belt, chain or gear and only operates while the engine is running. It has a limited life span and sooner or later will have to be replaced. You can check your owner's manual to find out how long your water pump should last. Some can fail at only 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers), but almost all of them fail by 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers).

    Water pumps don't gradually wear out; they fail. In other words, they're either working or they're not. A failed water pump has to be replaced.

    Water pumps can fail in two ways: they can spring a leak or their bearings fail. Leaks can come from a cracked pump but usually develop at the gasket where the pump attaches to the engine.

    If you hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump, it's time for a new one. If you see coolant leaking in the area near the pump, it needs to be replaced. Also, coolant on the driveway could indicate water pump failure. Many water pumps aren't visible because they're under a plastic cover, so you may have to take your vehicle to Affordable Transmissions to know if the water pump has failed. If your water pump is run by the timing belt, then it should be replaced when you replace the belt. Most timing belts need to be replaced at around 60,000 to 90,000 miles (100,000 to 150,000 kilometers). The labor for replacing a timing belt is about 90% the same for replacing a water pump, so it's cost-effective to take care of them both at the same time. Also, if your water pump develops a leak (if it's powered by the timing belt), you have to replace the timing belt as well since contamination by coolant fluid damages the belt. It just makes sense for Brooklyn Park residents to replace both of these parts whenever either one needs it.

    Replacing a water pump at Affordable Transmissions is a vehicle care issue that almost all of us Brooklyn Park residents face eventually. They don't last forever. On the other hand, we can extend the life of most of the components of our vehicle through preventive maintenance. Just as exercise and diet keep our heart healthy, regular check-ups and fluid changes will keep our vehicles healthy. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Affordable Transmissions service advisor.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Your Biggest Fan (Radiator Fan Problems)

    Apr 26, 2020

    Your vehicle's engine makes a lot of heat when it's powering you down the road, so it needs a way to get rid of that energy.  That's why your vehicle has a cooling system, complete with a radiator and one or two radiator fans, also called cooling fans.  Those fans make sure air keeps moving across the radiator so that the heat stored in the coolant can be dissipated outside when the vehicle is stopped or not traveling fast.

    Radiator fans can develop problems and can stop working properly or stop working altogether.  Some signs to look for? If you're driving slowly and idling and you see your temperature gauge moving toward the red or hot zone, that could spell trouble.  Another thing you may notice when a radiator fan is failing is that there may be a loud noise coming from the engine compartment.

    There are two types of radiator fans.  One is mechanically connected to the engine and uses the engine's rotational energy to turn it.  The other is an electric fan and is the type used in most newer vehicles.  In the electrical type, one of the components, such as a relay or fuse, may fail, causing the fan to stop turning.  In the mechanical type, since it's driven by a pulley/belt mechanism, one of those components may break or stop working properly.  A clutch can wear out or a belt may slip or break. 

    When your cooling fan isn't working properly, it may cause your engine to overheat which could lead to expensive damage. That's why it's important to make sure you visit your service facility if you notice any of these symptoms.  A technician is trained to diagnose the problem and make sure your radiator fan is doing its job.  When it comes to your vehicle, your radiator fan really is your biggest fan.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Coolant/Antifreeze Service in Brooklyn Park, MN

    Jan 5, 2020

    Brooklyn Park auto owners may know that most automotive failures in Brooklyn Park, MN, are tire related, but do you know the second most common cause of vehicle failure? Nope, it's not teenagers. It is the coolant system. But if you take good care of your vehicle coolant system, it will take good care of you.

    A vehicle's engine creates a lot of heat - so much heat, that if it is not properly cooled, the engine can lock up, resulting in massive damage and repair bills. But when everything is working right, your vehicle engine operates at the proper temperature and all is well. Without antifreeze in your cooling system, the water could freeze and cause vehicle engine damage. This could be very expensive, not to mention inconvenient.

    The right mix of water and antifreeze protects the engine against damage from freezing and overheating. Antifreeze also protects the coolant system against corrosion that could cause the system to fail. The thing to remember is this: coolant system failure is very common, but it is also very easy to prevent. Your Brooklyn Park service center knows the manufacturer's recommendations and can tell you when the coolant needs to be changed. At Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park, we can perform a coolant system service.

    Brooklyn Park auto owners can add water or antifreeze to the bottle themselves but should be careful. First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. The steam could severely burn you. Second, try to get to Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owner's manual. Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze or you will damage your engine. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with a service advisor at Affordable Transmissions where they can make necessary corrections. Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze.

    Brooklyn Park technicians will need to check their vehicles owner's manual to make sure they use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturer’s warranty on your vehicle cooling system. If you're not sure, ask your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Affordable Transmissions for guidance.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Keep Your Cool in Brooklyn Park

    Nov 24, 2019

    Brooklyn Park drivers rely on their vehicle's coolant system to keep their engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your vehicle engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it's cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the coolant/water mix circulates back through the engine to absorb more heat.

    There's a reason we mix coolant and water. Water alone actually does a good job transferring heat from the engine. The problem is that water boils at a temperature that's easily reached inside your vehicle's engine, so it can turn to steam which does not conduct heat as well and is harder to contain.

    Also, if it's freezing outside in Brooklyn Park, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the MN cold.

    So, if you remember your high school chemistry, you'll know that a mixture has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than either component alone.

    Coolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures in and around Brooklyn Park.

    Whenever your vehicle is running, the coolant in the cooling system is working to keep your engine from overheating. When it's cold outside, the coolant acts as antifreeze to keep the fluid from freezing in your engine.

    All that exploding fuel in your engine creates a lot of heat. Without coolant, the metal vehicle engine parts would expand so much that the engine would seize up and stop running. The parts could be broken or warp so badly they would have to be replaced. It could even be so bad that the whole vehicle's engine is ruined and has to be junked.

    This is why it is critical that Brooklyn Park drivers check coolant levels frequently and have their vehicle's cooling system inspected for leaks. Also your vehicle has a maintenance requirement for draining and replacing your coolant. These recommendations can vary widely, so check your owner's manual or ask us at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park.

    The reason Brooklyn Park drivers need to change the coolant is that it has additives in it to protect the cooling system. As you can imagine, with all the heat, the cooling system's a pretty harsh environment. The additives keep the fluid from becoming corrosive and damaging the radiator and other vehicle cooling system components. Over time, the additives are depleted and the coolant just has to be replaced.

    Many Brooklyn Park auto owners ask our advisors at Affordable Transmissions why there are different colors of antifreeze. It is very important that you use the correct type of antifreeze. The different types of antifreeze – or coolant – are different colors so you don't mix them up.

    They use different materials to make the cooling system, and they require different types of antifreeze to protect them.

    So check with us at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park or your owner's manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your vehicle cooling system.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Smart Brooklyn Park Drivers Protect Against Overheating

    Oct 13, 2019

    Engines get hot when they run. This heat can build up and damage vital engine parts, so engines need a cooling system to keep them running. Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles. This is unfortunate, because these failures are usually easy for Brooklyn Park drivers to prevent.

    The radiator is the best-known and most recognizable part of the cooling system. Hoses filled with coolant (also known as antifreeze) connect the radiator to the engine. The coolant draws heat from the engine and then flows to the radiator. Air passing through cooling fans on the radiator cools the coolant. The coolant then cycles back into the engine to start the process over again.

    The most critical component of the cooling system, however, is the coolant itself. A mixture of water and coolant/antifreeze helps keep it both from freezing and from boiling away. Either can result in serious engine damage.

    Different engines require different types of coolant/antifreeze. The owner's manual will list what kind a vehicle requires. Using the wrong type or mixing different types of coolant/antifreeze may void the warranty on the cooling system and may damage it as well.

    Insufficient coolant can lead to engine failure. Coolant levels need to be checked regularly and topped off as necessary. If coolant levels drop quickly or consistently, the cooling system should be inspected for leaks. Coolant/antifreeze contains additives that protect the radiator and other coolant components from rust, scale and corrosion. Over time, these additives are depleted, so it is necessary for Brooklyn Park drivers to replace coolant at specified intervals. Changing coolant should be part of routine preventive maintenance for any vehicle.

    This service is often ignored, though, since old coolant still cools the engine. Vehicle owners don't realize there is a problem until the system fails. They are left with major repairs and possibly a damaged engine, which could have been prevented with a cooling system service at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park.

    If your vehicle sends a warning message to check its coolant or if the temperature gauge is reading in the red or hot zone, then the cooling system needs serviced. This service is critical and should not be put off since the potential for damage is high.

    In an emergency situation, water or antifreeze can be added to your vehicle so that it can be driven to a service center for proper car care. For this reason, your owner's manual contains instructions for how to top off insufficient coolant – allow 45 minutes for the engine to cool before attempting to add coolant or water. However, the fluid should be added to the coolant overflow bottle, not to the radiator itself. Removing the radiator pressure cap can result in severe burns.

    Topping off in an emergency, however, does not fix the problem. The vehicle should immediately be taken to Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park where they can inspect the cooling system, repair any leaks and clean it if necessary. They can identify what caused the emergency situation in first place and ensure it doesn't happen again.

    Regular maintenance of a vehicle's cooling system is just good auto advice for Brooklyn Park drivers. Cooling system service is relatively inexpensive and doesn't take long at Affordable Transmissions. Lack of it, however, can put a vehicle in the scrap heap.

    Talk to our service advisor at Affordable Transmissions for more information. 

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com