Your vehicles cooling system is crucial to making the engine last longer and perform better. An improperly maintained cooling system can result in the overheating of the engine, which in turn can cause major component failures within. The cooling system is a pressurized circulation system that consists of 5 major pieces.
The Water pump: Which is a mechanical pump that circulates the engine coolant/anti-freeze through the radiator and back to the engine.
The Thermostat: the t-stat is a temperature sensitive orifice in the cooling system that opens and closes according to engine temperature to regulate the flow of coolant/anti-freeze through the radiator and back to the engine. This allows for the engine to be run at specific temperatures to optimize the performance and emissions levels of the vehicle.
The Radiator: The radiator is basically a finned box mounted at the front of the vehicle that the coolant is forced through so that air may pass across it and cool the anti-freeze/coolant. They are covered in fins that act as heat syncs to help dissipate the heat.
The Cooling fan: The cooling fan is located directly behind the radiator, whether the vehicle is front or rear wheel drive. Its job is to pull air through the radiator at lower vehicle speeds to keep it from over-heating. Cooling fans can either be mechanical (belt driven on the engine) or electric (mounted on the radiator, temperature controlled)
Drive belts/hoses: All of the antifreeze/coolant in your vehicle is pumped through several hoses. Maintaining them is crucial to preventing serious engine damage from over-heating. Visually inspect the hoses for leakage, cracks or abrasions and the general integrity of the hose. Replace any that are questionable. The drive belt/belts should be inspected regularly as well.
Always follow the manufacturers recommendations on how often and which particular anti-freeze/coolant to use. For more extreme conditions it never hurts to shorten the service interval a few miles. Remember, take care of your and it will take care of you.