Engine Cooling System

Gas engines create a lot of heat that must be neutralized to a great degree to function even under mild conditions. In fact, most of what is created by the burning of gasoline, regardless of the octane, is heat, not mechanical power. This is why the cooling system under the hood is so vital to an engine being able to operate. Think about it like this – the cooling system on an average car, traveling at freeway speeds must be able to dissipate enough heat for two average homes to be comfortably warm. Therefore, the job of the engine’s cooling system is large, not small.

The vital function of the cooling system is to prevent your engine from overheating. If it fails to do that and the car continues to operate for even a short amount of time, not only can it be dangerous to the engine, but also endanger the driver and their passengers. This function involves heat being converted into air at a much lower temperature. While the cooling system does have other functions, preventing the engine from overheating and burning up is the primary and most important job by far.

Heat isn’t all bad, however. Your vehicle’s engine is actually designed to perform at its best in high temperatures, but there is a limit to that. The cooling system must keep the engine in a range that will not cause damage to engine parts. Conversely, a cold engine causes parts tend to wear out as well and operate at a less efficient MPG. Cold engines also emit more pollution, which should explain why emissions tests are often failed by vehicles that were started up a short time before the test was run. The cooling system, when operating properly is also set to allow a vehicle’s engine to heat up as quickly as is safe so that the engine is operating at its peak efficiency.

Once the engine heats up, the cooling system then is designed to keep it running at a very consistent temperature.

This consistency is made possible by the thermostat, which tracks the engine’s temperature while regulating the cooling system by how much coolant is flowing into the radiator.


  • Fluid levels in your radiator and overflow/reserve are checked
  • Radiator drained, flushed and refilled with new coolant
  • For warmer climates, this service should be performed every 18-24 months
  • Hoses and caps on the radiator, reserve, and overflow tank are checked
  • Leaks are detected with visual inspection
  • Thermostat is also checked and replaced if needed

Our ASE Certified mechanics will check your engine cooling system as part of normal maintenance because we understand how vital it is for your engine to run at a proper temperature.


  • You notice puddles under your car of water-like fluid. Thin fluid puddling under your car is most often from a leaky radiator or the connected hoses
  • White smoke coming from the exhaust
  • Wet floor mats where your feet would normally rest

A cooling system that is not properly maintained can lead to rapid engine wear and even engine failure due to overheating.