Cooling systems on vehicles are meant to remove heat from critical engine components. The fluid or coolant that circulates through the system carries the heat out of the engine to the radiator, where air flow dissipates the heat it contains. A natural reaction to the heat which the fluid experiences is expansion. If the fluid in the cooling system is at the full mark when the engine is cold, the volume will be greater when the fluid is hot due to expansion. Because the cooling system is closed and pressurized when hot, the excess hot coolant needs to go somewhere. It is pushed into a surge tank, or an overflow tank, where it remains until the engine cools down. When the engine cools, the contraction from the fluid still in the system creates a vacuum and the surge tank’s hose draws the coolant back into the system. If the coolant surge tank is cracked or broken, the coolant will leak onto the ground. An airlock will form in the cooling system when the surge tank hose only draws in air instead of coolant.
The surge tank itself should never need attention unless it is damaged or broken. Excess engine heat may also warp the container, though it is not common. If your coolant surge tank is broken or leaking, have one of our expert mechanics replace it.
The surge tank is part of the cooling system. It may seem to be auxiliary, but it is essential to proper operation. If the surge tank leaks coolant out, an airlock will form in the engine and it could overheat, causing damage. If your surge tank is broken, have it replaced as soon as possible to prevent further issues.
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