Monday, February 11, 2008

Mission Repair:

“Good morning, Mr. Phelps,
You’re mission, should you decide to accept it, is to determine why the car’s temperature gauge is going into the red. You will have help from your team of automotive professionals. You will have thirty seconds, before the vehicle overheats and self destructs”.

Your Mission Repair Force is being sent on a covert mission to determine what is responsible for the sudden increase in vehicles overheating on the roadways.

The first step is to have a closer look at one of these overheating vehicles and interrogate the vehicle driver. A little sodium pentothal (truth serum) does the trick of getting the driver of the vehicle to confess to not having maintained the vehicle’s cooling system and waiting until the car started overheating before shutting off the motor. We can only hope that the motor did not sustain serious damage.

A bit of research by your team of secret agents reveals that an internal combustion engine produces a lot of heat. It is the cooling system’s job to dissipate that heat into the atmosphere, keeping the motor running cool and at the correct operating temperature.

You start with a careful inspection of the vehicles cooling system, which is performed only after making sure that the engine is cold before removing the radiator cap. (Scalding burns can occur if opening a radiator cap when the vehicle is hot and under pressure.) The vehicle’s coolant level is very low.
But where would the coolant sneak off to? A pressure test reveals the fluid holding ability of the radiator has been compromised. (In non-spy terms, it has a crack that’s leaking coolant.)

Most cars since the early 90’s have radiators that are made of plastic tanks and aluminum fins. They usually last between 10-12 years before the plastic tanks start cracking and leaking. Non-classified documents (owner’s manual) inform the driver of the vehicle that the coolant should be changed every two years and an inspection of the cooling system should be performed at the same time.

A new radiator and a set of radiator hoses are located. Your team informs you that there usually is no extra labor charge to replace the hoses at the same time as the radiator. Because the vehicle was overheated, it’s a good idea to replace the thermostat, since this regulates the flow of coolant to the radiator, maintaining a steady operating temperature. A thorough flush of the cooling system is done and the new radiator, hoses and thermostat are installed. Coolant typically comes full strength and must be diluted with water in a 50/50 mix. Mission Repair Force members are careful to clean up any spilled coolant since its toxic to humans and pets.
You start the vehicle and check the operation of the cooling fans. A Block- Check is done to make sure the cylinder head gaskets were not damaged when the vehicle overheated.

Your team has made the world a safer place for stranded motorists.

Next week we will check in with Batman and what he does when the check engine light goes on in the Batmobile.

I hope this article helps you. I am Ken Levine the owner of Kens Quality Auto Repair in Thousand Oaks were we specialize in Lexus and Toyota vehicles. If you have any car questions please e-mail me at, visit or call 805-494-4344

No comments: