Jeffrey Boone: Hi! I am Jeff Boone with AAA Mid-Atlantic's approved auto repair department. And with winterizing your car today, we are going to touch on the Cooling system.
What are the things have got to caution you against? When you are checking your cooling system, you always want to make sure that the radiator is full. First thing you need to do is, hold your hand on the cap very lightly. If it is hot, do not open the system. If this is pressurized, like it is during normal operation; when you will open it, it could have spill coolant at you and caused you to get burn. Now one of the things you want to do is you want to make sure that the cooling system has got a proper amount of antifreeze and includes mixture without being over full.
The other thing you want to do is make sure that the fluid is clean and healthy looking. There are different types of fluids; some will be green, some will be orange, and some will be red depending on your manufacturer's specification of your vehicle. With this vehicle, I am going to test the cooling system to see whether or not it protects me during my winter time driving. By literally putting in the cooling tester, squeezing this just like you would a turkey baster bob, to expel the air and then filling the hydrometer with coolant. Well, with this type of tester, you can buy these at pretty much any automotive parts store. And this a hydrometer. All this is doing is checking to see how much viscosity is in the fluid? How many of these tablets would actually makes fluid. And right on the front of the hydrometer, it shows you a chart of how many disc flow between one and five and what your protection level is in both Fahrenheit and Celsius? This system floated all five disk which gives you negative 50 degrees Fahrenheit or negative 46 degree Celsius protection. Now that will do me during mid-winter time months anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic area. There are times where it will get colder than it, specially in the Northern Hemisphere. You might end up like our northern friends in Canada. They will use a straight antifreeze mixture in the winter time only that is not suggested for any place below to North Atlantic.
One of the other things you will need to check when you are checking the cooling system, are the hoses and the belts that drive the cooling system. The hoses, like this upper radiator hose, should be simply squeezed to make sure that you don't feel any brittleness. If you feel anything that is cracking, changes are that hose is to the point where it is going to fail. Have that attended to as soon as possible.
Belt on the other hand on most new cars are harder to see. On this vehicle, it is almost impossible to see from the top of the vehicle. However, being able to look down and see the belt is an easy way to determine whether or not it is failing. Rule of thumb is if you own a serpentine belt, if you have more than ten cracks per inch, it is time to replace the belt before it fails. That is pretty much all you can do on your own with the cooling system.
Now we need to check the Battery System.