Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs knows that many clients have good general knowledge of their cars, but do you know how a coolant reservoir works? This component of your vehicle plays a major role in keeping the entire engine running smoothly. A problem with the coolant reservoir tank can quickly spell disaster for your car and an expensive trip to the auto shop. A responsible car owner knows what the coolant reservoir does and how to check if there is an obvious malfunction.
As your engine runs, it burns fuel to power your vehicle. In doing so, it produces a significant amount of heat. If the temperature of your engine rises above a certain point, it can cause severe damage to the cylinders, warping them out of shape or even cracking the head gasket. This damage can be messy and cause your car to break down. Although repairable, it will cost you a hefty amount of labor charges to get the parts replaced.
Your car’s cooling system works to extract heat from the engine and prevent this kind of damage. The cooling system pumps a coolant fluid through pipes surrounding your engine’s cylinders. The latent heat taken from the engine converts the coolant into a gas, and as it passes through the car’s radiator, it converts back into a liquid and expels the heat to the outside of the vehicle.
The coolant reservoir is a vital component of the cooling system. Its function is to store excess coolant fluid until required. You can locate the reservoir by following the hose from the radiator. There you will find the container, usually made of transparent plastic, that functions as the coolant reservoir. The reservoir is also the place where you add new coolant to the system, and not as some people think, directly into the radiator.
As your car’s engine heats up, the pressure within the radiator builds up. To release pressure, the radiator cap allows some coolant to escape out, stored in the reservoir. This excess coolant stays here until the system cools down enough to create negative pressure and draw the excess coolant from the reservoir back into circulation. While the engine is off, your coolant reservoir should be about 30% full.
The most common reason for a vehicle to overheat is a leak in the coolant reservoir or one of the attached hoses. A leak means that the stored liquid will slowly drip out and eventually, there will be insufficient coolant running through the system. To prevent your vehicle from overheating, remember to check the level of coolant in the reservoir regularly. If you see smoke coming from your engine or notice your temperature gauge rising too high, the best course of action to take is to pull over safely and turn off the engine. An overheating engine can cause serious damage if left unchecked.
Now that you know how a coolant reservoir works and how important it is, you’re welcome to call or stop by Bowers Automotive for help with this component and much more. We’ve been serving Colorado Springs for over 26 years. Our team is always ready to help you keep your vehicle in top condition. From tire pressure to the coolant reservoir, we can help you understand how your car works and the best way to keep it maintained.