The cooling system keeps your car's engine running efficiently, preventing it from overheating, which can be dangerous and expensive to fix. Keep the cooling system in peak shape with these three do it yourself or DIY maintenance tips from SpeedWash Car Wash

Top Off Fluids

If your car is low on coolant, it will overheat on a hot summer day. Come spring, check the coolant levels and top off as needed. Your car's coolant is in a hard plastic chamber under the hood. If you're not sure which chamber contains the coolant, look to your owner's manual to identify everything. The chamber has maximum and minimum lines, so it's easy to top things off by pouring in fluid until it reaches the maximum fill line.

Flush the Radiator

Flushing the radiator removes buildup from the cooling system, helping to prevent clogs. First, place a drip tray underneath the drain to capture the old fluid. Then take off the radiator cap and pull the plug. The radiator fluids will drain out and into the pan.

Check the color of the old fluid. If it's yellow, orange, or green, you can flush the chamber with water and add fresh fluid. After attaching a radiator flush kit hose, you can pour water down the hose. When the water that flows into your drip pan is clear, the chamber is clean and ready for fresh radiator fluid. Reattach the plug, pour in new radiator fluid, and seal the chamber.

If the radiator fluid is brown, you'll need to clean the chamber with a chemical flush first, which you can find at your auto supply shop. Follow the same steps as with the water flush to clean out the chamber.

Inspect Caps and Hoses

The last step in cooling system maintenance is to check the caps and hoses. Worn-out hoses, which may be cracked or split, should be replaced with fresh hoses. Hose caps should fit securely, and not look brittle or damaged. Look for replacement hoses and caps for your make and model vehicle at an auto parts shop.

To change the hose, remove the old hose and lay the new hose alongside it. Use new hose clamps to attach the new hose. Changing a cap is simple: Unscrew the old cap and attach the new one. Just make sure the vehicle isn't hot, or you could get burned.

These three steps courtesy of SpeedWash Car Wash should help keep your cooling system working well all year round. Inspect the cooling system once every year and, as preventative maintenance, have your mechanic check the entire system every two years to find and fix problems before anything breaks down.