You take your car to a mechanic for your monthly servicing and alas! You’re informed that your coolant reservoir cap is missing!
Is this something you should break a sweat about? Should you head out and search for a replacement asap?
If such questions are popping in your mind, fret not! In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about a coolant reservoir. Moreover, we’ll show you what to do if the cap goes missing.
So let’s get into the details.
What does a coolant reservoir do?
You may have heard of this term a few times. But what exactly does a coolant reservoir do?
It’s quite simple once you get the gist. The name “coolant reservoir” is pretty self-explanatory.
A coolant reservoir is basically like a storage system for the cooling liquid or coolant in your vehicle. When your vehicle runs, the engine produces heat. But this heat obviously must be regulated, right?
That’s why a cooling system is needed. Let’s look at what a cooling system consists of.
Parts of a cooling system
● A coolant reservoir
A coolant reservoir is where the excess coolant is stored in your vehicle. If you remove the hood of your car, you’ll find it near the radiator.
Pipes or tubes are connected with the coolant reservoir. This carries coolant liquid around the engine and keeps the engine cool by absorbing the heat.
In this system, a pump is needed to pull the coolant from the reservoir and push it through the pipes of the cooling system.
● A radiator
Now the coolant has absorbed the heat of the engine and become hot. Where does this heat escape? And how? Well, that’s when the radiator comes in. It pulls the heat from the coolant and cools it. Thus it also cools your engine.
So if you ever run into the problem of your car overheating, know that it’s the cooling system that isn’t functioning properly. In that case, get your radiator checked.
Also, don’t forget to check whether your cooling reservoir is filled with coolant. If you haven’t filled it with coolant for a while, all the coolant may get over and cause your engine to malfunction.
What happens when a coolant reservoir cap is missing?
Now that we’ve looked at the function and mechanism of a cooling system, let’s come to the real deal.
What exactly happens when a coolant reservoir cap is missing? This answer is not as simple as you think.
In short, the way your car will react depends upon the make and model of your car.
Non-pressurized coolant system
In some cars, the coolant reservoir is just a separate component that stores excess coolant when it isn’t in use. In this case, there is no buildup of pressure inside the coolant reservoir.
So if your cap goes missing, the only risk you have is dirt and debris falling into your coolant. Moreover, if you recently just filled your reservoir with coolant, it may spill when you drive on a bumpy road.
This type of coolant reservoir is mainly seen in older car models.
Pressurized coolant system
Here’s where things start getting a little complicated. In a pressurized coolant system, the coolant reservoir is directly connected to the radiator.
In this system, the radiator releases the coolant back into the coolant reservoir after it’s cooled. This makes your vehicle more efficient and you have to spend less on refilling your coolant reservoir!
Now isn’t that a win-win situation? So the coolant is also pressurized since it’s directly connected to the radiator.
Moreover, in some models of a pressurized coolant system, there is no radiator cap at all!
This makes the coolant reservoir cap, and even more important component of the whole coolant system.
What to do when my coolant reservoir cap is missing?
So by now, you probably have an idea of the two types of coolant systems. But you may still wonder how important is the cap? Can you drive without it?
The answer will depend on what type of coolant system your car has. So head out to your trusted mechanic and find this important piece of information first.
If your coolant system is non-pressurized
If you find out that your coolant reservoir isn’t directly connected to your radiator, good news! The missing cap won’t really affect the performance of your car.
Still, these are the problems you may face.
- Dirt or debris falling into your coolant reservoir
- Coolant spilling out
You won’t be damaging your car if you drive around without the cap. But to be safe, block the hole with an old rag. Then go to your local automotive store and find a replacement.
If your coolant system is pressurized
Now if your car is a newer model and your coolant reservoir is connected to your radiator, trouble!
This means that your coolant reservoir is also pressurized. Moreover, since the radiator is directly connected to it, the reservoir cap is essential for the functioning of your vehicle.
Without the cap, there will be no buildup of pressure in your system. Moreover, your car will seriously overheat if you run it for a while.
So what’s the solution? Just don’t drive your car without the coolant reservoir cap. Instead, try getting a replacement cap asap. You can easily find these in automotive stores.
And that’s about it folks. Just go and find out whether your coolant reservoir is pressurized or not and act accordingly. No need to break a sweat!
We hope that this post simplified the whole ordeal for you. Did you like what you read?
Throw at us any questions you may have, and we’d love to answer you. You see, every car owner should have a basic idea about their vehicle. So we’re here to make that much easier! Until then, goodbye!
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