Cooling system vs. A/C: What’s the difference?
Did you know that 40 percent of engine failures are caused by cooling system issues?
Your engine’s cooling system uses coolant, also known as antifreeze, to keep your engine cool even on the hottest days.
A separate cooling system for the inside of your vehicle is the air conditioning system. It uses refrigerant (commonly called Freon) to keep you and your family cool and comfortable.
If you have trouble with either system, these tips will help you keep your cool when the heat outside is turned up.
More about the engine’s cooling system
The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating.
Hot temperatures and low coolant levels increase the risk of your engine overheating and your air condition (A/C) working overtime. If you see symptoms of an overheated engine, like the temperature gauge rising, warning lights or steam billowing out from the hood, pull over to a safe place, turn off the engine, and call a tow truck service to get your vehicle to an automotive repair shop that you trust.
An overheated engine is definitely a time when you want to have it towed to prevent engine damage. Far too many individuals drive when the engine has overheated and damage the engine.
If you are a “Do It Yourself” (DIY) type person, then wait at least 30 minutes for the hot engine to cool down fully before opening the hood.
Do not remove caps from your radiator and/or tank while it is hot and under pressure. You may burn yourself, as coolant will come out when it is hot and under pressure.
When the engine is cool, if your coolant levels are low, topping off the tank (it’s the translucent plastic one) could do the trick. But if the tank is empty you might have sprung a leak and will need a professional to take a look and determine what needs to be replaced.
More about the vehicle’s air conditioning system
If your vehicle’s A/C is blowing warm, then more than likely, there is a small leak in your A/C system and it needs refrigerant.
There are ‘Do It Yourself’ kits, but beware that you might over charge the A/C system and cause more damage which would cost more than if you had taken it to a professional in the first place.
The DYI kits contain sealer that can cause damage to your A/C system. For this symptom, the automotive repair facility will do an ‘evac and recharge.’ This means that the refrigerant will be taken out, dye will be added, the system will be recharged and the new refrigerant will be put into the system.
If the leaking location can be seen by the technician, then you will receive an estimate for what it will take to fix the A/C.
If the leak is not obvious, the technician will put dye into the system. Sometimes the leak is as small as a pin hole. Therefore, when the A/C begins to blow warm again, you can take the vehicle back to the automotive repair shop so they can look with an ultra-violet light to see the dye which pinpoints the location of the leak.
There is typically a standard fee for the evac and recharge and dye. However, there will be an extra charge for the refrigerant that needs to be replaced.
If your vehicle’s A/C is not blowing at all, then there is a different issue. This requires a diagnostic fee for the technician to determine what is causing the A/C to not blow. Some common root causes are:
The A/C blower motor is broken.
The blend door is broken. The blend door moves as you turn the control knobs on your dash.
The control knobs are malfunctioning.
The compressor is malfunctioning/broken.
Kansas has HOT summers so seek out your trusted mechanic to keep your cool when having issues with your engine’s cooling system or vehicle’s A/C system.
— Tammie and Scott Green own Christian Brothers Automotive, 22240 Midland Dr.