Motoring – What Causes the Radiator Coolant to Run Low? [opinion]

Driving a normal, well- maintained vehicle, where everything is still running well, is the ideal situation that everyone of us would like to find ourselves in on a daily basis.

That is why those who are used to driving new vehicles do not find it compelling to maintain or even repair them. I would, therefore, like to point it out to you that even new vehicles sometimes develop mechanical problems, although they may not be as frequent as with the older ones.

One of the problems that may surface, even with a new vehicle, is one of experiencing dropping levels of coolant in the engine radiator. A vehicles’ radiator coolant dropping low is not, as is common belief, always determined by the age of the vehicle. It may likely be caused by one or more of the factors below:

A failed thermostat. This is not part of the radiator itself, but a valve that controls how much coolant can flow into and out of the radiator. It also helps keep the engine at optimum operating temperatures, by opening and closing itself. The countries where most vehicles are manufactured experience extreme temperature changes which would affect the performance of the engine.

With the morning cold start, for example, in extreme cold conditions, the difficulty in starting is caused by the coolants and oils tending to somewhat solidify. Therefore it is the work of the thermostat to keep the temperatures normal in those extreme conditions. Failure of the thermostat to perform, due to rust or other causes, will lead to the vehicle engine overheating and loosing coolant.

Leaking through any broken hose pipe that is supposed to direct the coolant to or out of the radiator will make the coolant run low and this will reduce the engine’s cooling, hence overheating.

Sometimes there are air bubbles in the cooling system and this will stop the smooth flow of the coolant and also reduce its efficiency in the cooling of the engine. Therefore, if your engine seems to be running hot, you may need to see to it that the cooling system of your vehicle is bled in order to expel any possible air bubbles.

Leakages from a brokendamaged radiator and radiator reserve, radiator cap or a failed water pump could also make the coolant run low, and if not worked on in time, could totally damage the engine.

Cooling system obstructions could take the shape of blockages in the engine cooling passages, or even the radiator passages, which make it difficult for the coolant to flow effectively.

A failed or broken radiator fan which is supposed to cool the radiator would also lead to the reduction in coolant levels in the radiator. The cooling would not be effective, raising the temperatures of the coolant and as it continues to run, it evaporates, hence reducing its levels and leading to an engine overheat.

In conclusion, there are certainly several other reasons why the engine coolant would run low. But we cannot exhaust them here however, what one needs to do is to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic to help you out before the engine blows due to engine overheating. It is also very important to always keep on topping up the coolant in the radiator once you notice it is always running low although this is a minor solution, as it treats the symptoms rather than the causes.

Robert Kato is a mechanic.

Source : The Observer

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