How To Know If Your AC Needs Maintenance


Gasoline burning inside your engine creates combustion chamber temperatures that can reach 1000°F or more. For an engine to perform the way it should, the operating temperature must be controlled within a small range. The job of the cooling system is to regulate engine temperature for maximum fuel economy, power and component life as well as minimal emissions. Failure to maintain the cooling system often results in overheating and eventually a breakdown. The life of the cooling system is the coolant, a mixture of antifreeze and water that circulates throughout the engine to maintain temperature. Proper maintenance can help you to avoid getting stuck on the side of the road with an overheated engine. Keeping an eye out for the following cooling system warning signs will help you avoid a costly breakdown.

Cooling System Warning Signs:

Coolant Light Comes On

The engine temperature warning light on the dashboard usually appears as a thermometer with wavy lines next to it or a box with wavy lines inside of it. If this light activates while you are driving, it is telling you that your engine is hot; possibly due to a low coolant condition. This could be indicative of a coolant leak, most likely the result of a cracked or broken hose. The best thing to do in this situation is to locate the source of the leak, and if small enough to allow the vehicle to be safely operated, wait until your engine cools down; then add coolant and have your vehicle serviced by a certified Toyota of Greenville professional as quickly as possible.

Temperature Gauge Higher or Lower Than Normal

When your cooling system is operating correctly, the needle of the temperature gauge will be in the "normal" range (often halfway between high and low). If the needle begins to creep upward or downward, it is indicating a fault in the vehicle's cooling system that can range from leaves blocking the radiator to a cooling fan that is inoperative and many other possibilities in between. In this case, having a diagnosis performed by a certified Toyota of Greenville professional and servicing your vehicle is your best bet unless you are a seasoned do-it-yourselfer who knows how to fix these types of issues safely.

Heater Isn't Working

Your vehicle's heater runs off of the same coolant that courses through the engine. A valve regulates coolant flow through the heater core to control cabin temperature. If the engine is leaking coolant or if there is a blockage, your vehicle's heater performance will be affected. If your heater is not working optimally or you are concerned that it is starting to indicate failure, stop by Toyota of Greenville for diagnosis.

Coolant Leak

Coolant loss can be either external or internal. Seeing a green, pink, or orange puddle in your driveway or garage indicates an antifreeze leak. Antifreeze has a sticky feel, bright color, sweet smell and taste, but is toxic to humans and pets if swallowed. Make sure you clean up any coolant that you see to protect yourself and your pets. Loss of coolant where no puddle is seen is often due to internal engine gasket or component failure. Internal coolant consumption can damage emission components and should be repaired quickly.

Poor Gas Mileage

Your vehicle's engine runs most efficiently within a very tight temperature range. Proper operating temperate allows fuel to burn more effectively, providing more engine power and lower fuel consumption. If the engine temperature drops below this range, fuel does not vaporize properly, negatively affecting your fuel economy. So if you notice that you are making more frequent trips to the pump, there could be an issue with your car's cooling system. Toyota of Greenville has many gas saving tips and recommendations so you can Save Gas Now.

Sweet Smell

As previously mentioned, one of the properties of antifreeze is the liquid's sweet smell. If you detect a sweet odor, notice underhood steam or sudden film on the inside of the windshield, your vehicle's cooling system could be leaking. In this instance, we recommend having a diagnosis performed by a certified Toyota of Greenville professional to determine what is going on with your vehicle.

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