Heating & Cooling System Repair

Learn about our heating & cooling system repair services.

Heating

What do heater hoses do?

During the cold winter months, your heating system must be working properly. One vital part to your vehicle’s heating system is its heater hoses. Before we cover what exactly heater hoses are and what they do, we should understand how your vehicle’s heating system actually works.

It may seem surprising, but your vehicle’s heating system actually works off your engine’s cooling system. When your engine is running, it produces tremendous amounts of heat. This heat needs to be transferred away from the engine so the engine doesn’t overheat.

Engine coolant, called antifreeze, travels throughout the engine absorbing the excess heat and transports it out of the engine. Then, basically what your heating system does is it uses the excess heat from the engine to heat the inside of your vehicle. Some of the engine’s excess heat will travel to the radiator and will be released into the atmosphere. However, some of the excess heat also travels to the heater core (the heater core, located inside your dashboard, is in charge of heating your vehicle). This is where heater hoses come into play.

Heater hoses are used to transfer the excess heat, in the form of engine coolant, from the engine into the heater core. Once the heated engine coolant reaches the heater core, it travels through small tubes inside the heater core. Then, the heater fan blows on the tubes, sending warm air through the heating vents and into your vehicle. The heater hoses will then transfer the heated engine coolant out of the heater core and back to the engine.

Why do you need to replace heater hoses?

Heater hoses are made of thick, durable rubber in order to withstand the hot engine coolant passing through them. However, over time, heater hoses will get hard and brittle and can crack. When heater hoses wear and crack, they will leak engine coolant. Heater hoses are actually one of the most common sources of engine coolant leakage. If your heater hoses are leaking engine coolant, not only will your heating system not heat your vehicle as well, but also your cooling system won’t have enough engine coolant and your engine can overheat.

When should you replace your heater hoses?

Heater hoses can last from five to over ten years. However, it is very important to test periodically the condition of your heater hoses. Wait until your engine has a chance to cool and then feel your heater hoses. They should not feel too hard and brittle or too soft and mushy.

If the hoses do feel too hard or too soft or appear to be cracked, you should have your heater hoses replaced as soon as possible. Also, if you are experiencing poor cabin heating or your engine overheats often, inspect your heater hoses and have them replaced if necessary.

How does a winterization check-up work?

A winterization check up will keep your vehicle running smoothly through the cold winter months. It is important to have your vehicle inspected and have any services or adjustments completed before the temperature gets too cold.

The first maintenance to be performed is changing your engine’s oil and coolant (or antifreeze). It is very important to have your engine coolant checked for the winter to ensure that water and other liquids do not freeze in your engine. Without antifreeze, your engine’s fluids will freeze and your engine won’t start.

Your vehicle’s transmission, power steering, brakes, radiator, radiator fluid, battery, battery fluid, wipers, wiper fluid, belts, and hoses should all be checked, and replaced if necessary, to ensure proper operation during the winter.

Your starting system, charging system, and battery are vital during the winter. Your battery requires a certain level of amps to start your vehicle, especially in cold weather. If your battery is old, your vehicle may not start on very cold days.

Your alternator should also be checked to make sure your vehicle would have the necessary electrical currents needed to power everything electrical in the vehicle.

Wipers and wiper fluid may get overlooked sometimes, but during the winter they are essential for safe driving. Good wiper blades and a full tank of wiper fluid are necessary to keep your windshield clean. During the winter, windshields get very dirty from wet roads and the salt used to keep roads from freezing.

Another very important thing to check are your tires. You want to make sure your tires are in good condition and have enough tread depth. You should also consider using snow tires. Snow tires are specially designed to deliver better traction and control on snow and ice. You should consider using winter tires especially if your vehicle uses high-performance tires during the spring and summer months. High-performance tires do not have the grip and traction necessary to travel on slick, snowy roads.

You should also check your tire pressure. It is important to have your tires inflated to the proper levels to ensure your tires will be in full contact with the road surface. It is important to remember that your tire’s air pressure will drop in cold weather, which makes checking your tire’s air pressure even more important.

If your vehicle has four-wheel drive, it is necessary to check to make sure it is working properly since it isn’t used very much during the spring and summer months.

It is also smart to keep a safety kit in your vehicle during the winter. You should have a flashlight, batteries, flares, jumper cables, tool kit, and a first-aid kit in case your vehicle breaks down. You should also have a blanket and warm clothes to keep you and your passengers warm in case your vehicle gets stuck. You should keep an ice scraper and extra wiper fluid in your vehicle. You should also have tire chains and sand or salt in case one of your tires gets stuck. The tire chains and sand or salt will provide extra traction to help get your vehicle moving again.

Why do I need a winterization check-up?

This preventive maintenance will ensure your vehicle is prepared for the winter months. It is better to be safe than sorry, especially during the winter. You don’t want to be driving an unsafe vehicle or a vehicle that isn’t equipped to deal with the cold weather. This maintenance is also very critical if you live in especially cold areas.

When do I need a winterization check-up?

You should have your vehicle winterized before the weather gets too harsh or the temperature gets too cold. You want to have it done before the bad weather really arrives. If you wait too long, you are putting yourself in danger. Plus, many other people probably waited as well; so, car care centers will be packed with customers, and you will probably have to wait to have your vehicle inspected. Again, this preventive maintenance should be done early to ensure your vehicle is safe to operate during the winter months.

Cooling

What is a cooling system flush and fill?

Most of the energy created from your vehicle’s gasoline is converted to heat energy. Your engine produces large amounts of heat that must be controlled by your engine’s cooling system. A cooling system keeps your vehicle’s engine from overheating, but it also allows the engine to become hot very quickly and stay at a constant temperature.

Engines are less efficient and more prone to pollution when they are cold. Cooling systems use fluid called antifreeze to control the engine’s temperature. Engine coolants must be able to withstand temperatures below 0 degrees without freezing and above 250 degrees without boiling. Water is very capable of withstanding heat, but it also freezes at temperatures too high to be suited for your engine. Therefore, your vehicle uses a substance called ethylene glycol, which improves boiling and freezing points; ethylene glycol is mixed with water to control your engine’s temperature. This substance is also called antifreeze.

Antifreeze is typically 50% water and 50% ethylene glycol. It travels through the engine’s pipes and passageways to absorb heat and cool the engine. It also contains rust and corrosion inhibitors as well as lubricants. A cooling system flush and fill is very simple. Your vehicle’s old engine coolant/antifreeze is drained from the radiator, your cooling system is flushed, and new antifreeze is added to the radiator.

Why do you need a cooling system flush and fill?

Antifreeze protects your engine fluid from freezing or boiling. It is very important to check the level and condition of your antifreeze regularly. Coolant levels should be checked only when an engine is completely cool. Engine coolant may still be very hot and can lead to burns if you check your coolant levels too early.

Any significant loss of antifreeze usually means you have a leak or your engine is running too hot. Driving on old engine coolant is one of the leading sources of cooling system failures. This means that your engine is too cold to start or overheats and shuts down. An engine that is overheating can soon self-destruct.

When should you replace your engine cooling fluid?

Antifreeze should be replaced every 2 years or 30,000 miles. Antifreeze contains certain rust and corrosion inhibitors that lose their effectiveness, which can lead to build up and overheating in your engine. A flush is required to clean the cooling system, and new engine coolant fluid/antifreeze is added to ensure your cooling system is working properly.

How does a spring check-up work?

A spring check-up is a good way to keep your vehicle running efficiently. It is essential maintenance to get your vehicle ready for the hot summer months, especially after a long winter.

Your engine’s battery should be one of the first things checked. Your battery has to work especially hard during the cold winter months. Test your battery’s power and replace it if it’s not up to specifications, especially if it’s more than three years old.

You should also have your tires checked. If you use snow tires for the winter, now is the time to remove them and replace them with your summer tires. You should check the tread depth on your tires to make sure they aren’t too worn. Your tire pressure should also be checked. Under-inflated tires can reduce your gas mileage as well as make driving dangerous. Winter driving can affect your vehicle.

Your braking system should be checked, including your brake lines, hoses, and fluid. Your engine’s belts and hoses should be checked, and if any of them are worn or damaged, they should be replaced.

Harsh winters can also damage road surfaces. It is important to have your vehicle’s suspension checked. There may be more potholes and bumps in the road after a long winter; so, your shocks and struts must be in good condition.

There are several other things that need to be inspected, including the following: the starting and charging system, on-board computer system, antifreeze and coolant levels, air conditioning system, engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering system/fluid, windshield wiper blades/wiper fluid, and air filter. This is also a good time to give your vehicle a good cleaning. The salt used to keep roads from freezing can do much damage to your vehicle; it can lead to early rusting.

Why do you need to perform a spring check-up?

Winter driving can damage your vehicle. A spring check-up is necessary to keep your vehicle running efficiently and to prepare it for the hot summer months. A spring check-up can catch any problems in your vehicle or your engine before they get too serious. This preventive maintenance can save you much money in the long run.

When do you need to perform a spring check-up?

A spring check-up should be performed at the beginning of spring. The earlier you can have your vehicle inspected the better. After your vehicle is inspected, it will be ready for summer driving.

Our Experts Can Help

The K&W team is equipped with the knowledge, tools, and resources to assist in your heating & cooling system repairs. Find your local store today and schedule an appointment.

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