Car Radiator Airlock Problem
If there’s one thing you need to make sure at all times whether you’re on the move with your car or your engine is simply idling, is that the engine needs to be kept cool at all times. For that to happen, the cooling system must be in perfect condition. Any obstruction could lead to an inefficient cooling which may result in engine overheating. That usually has catastrophic results, from exploding fuses to melted wires, resulting in a whole week in the shop, lots of headaches and a lot of money spent for nothing.
On of the main problems that usually occur in the cooling system is the phenomenon known as air lock, if this happens, here are a few steps to eliminate it, thus preventing further damage to your cooling system and engine. The cooling agent from the radiator keeps going in circles through the hoses, into the engine and then back into the radiator where it is cooled down, and so on. In a sealed system, coolant will circulate constantly with normal pressure. Sometime that pressure is no longer balanced when air gets trapped in the system and prevents the coolant from flowing constantly.
This may cause the thermostat to close or open incorrectly, or the water propeller to spin freely in a complete dry chamber. If any of these problems occur, are enough to permanently destroy your engine since overheating comes in a couple of minutes after the cooling system failed. Thankfully any vehicle owner can simply eliminate the air inside the radiator by following some steps.
If you see the engine’s temperature rising fast, park quickly somewhere and pull the emergency brake. Pop the hood open and remove the overflow cap. Fill the radiator up to its neck with coolant, than head for the overflow reservoir and fill that up as well, replace the caps and then turn on the engine and let the cooling system do its job.
Check out your car manual to see what kind of bleeder valve you have. It is easily spotted on the water box, since nearby is the thermostat. It will look like a small air bleeder bolt with a hex head fitting. Remove the bolt and fill up the reservoir to its limit and then you can head for the radiator. Watch carefully if any coolant escapes the bleeder hole. If you see coolant drops than you need to replace the bleeder bolt and the radiator cap.
If you don’t have any spilled coolant, than start the engine and let the engine reach its normal operating temperature, in order to get the thermostat to open. Continuously watch the bleeder hole as you pour coolant in the radiator. Stop when you see leaking coolant and then tighten the bleeder bolt.
The next step is a bit trickier so you need to check carefully for eventual bleeder holes. If you can’t see any holes than get a floor jack and lift the front of the car. Place the shift on neutral while making sure that the emergency brake is pulled. Than remove the radiator cap. Let the engine heat until the electric cooling fan activates. To make things faster, turn the interior heater to maximum, than pour coolant into the radiator and wait until it starts to bubble. Wait for the thermostat to open and heat the hose. In this moment the coolant level should drop as the trapped air is slowly leaving the cooling system with the boiling coolant. If you got here, congrats, you’ve just eliminated air from your cooling system.
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