While lap times won't drop because your cooling system is operating at its peak,if it fails you, the cooling system can cost time and major dollars. The cooling system should be inspected after every race, with certain maintenance jobs conducted on a rotine schedule.

Here are items that require inspection after every race. Be sure to look at each component individually in detail. Put the items on a checklist, and mark them off as you complete them. It only takes an extra minute or two and can save you major trouble and money.

After Every Race
* Visual inspection of radiator for leaks
* Visual inspection of core for dirt/debris
* Visual inspection of clamps
* Visual inspection of all hoses and connections for leaks
* If you use original equipment hoses and they have any bulges, replace them, as failure is close
* Visual inspection of belts
* Visual inspection of overflow tank
* Check belt tension
* Check coolant level
* Tighten hose clamps (do not overtighten, because the clamp can cut into the hose rubber-use double-hose clamps for increased safety)
* Check radiator cap

Every Three Races
Other items should be checked after several races and before the start of a new season:

* Visual inspection of water pump housing
* Check water pump and gaskets for leaks
* Check water pump pulley shaft for free-play (with belts loosened)
* Check thermostat housing for leaks and tightness
* Drain radiator, disconnect hoses, and flush entire system
* Clean debris from radiator fins (use caution-high water pressure can bend fins; keep water stream parallel to direction of fin airflow; use moderate pressure, even if you have a regular water hose with a pressure-spray nozzle; use extra caution if using a high-pressure power washer)
* Remove belts and check pulleys for wear and true rotation
* Check belts for wear
* Refill system and pressure-check
* Thoroughly check hoses for rubbing and wear
* Check water pump for free rotation
* Check electric fan operation and mounts
* Bleed cooling system of air
* Once a year, take system apart, and clean, inspect
* On Chevy-style water pumps, remove back cover and inspect impellers for corrosion, wear, free-play or damage; rotation marks on the housing indicate that the shaft is walking, which means possible cavitation and reduced efficiency; replace if you see this

Unexpected Problems
If you experience overheating problems when the system normally runs at a reasonable temperature, check the following:
* Dirt/debris in radiator fins
* System leaks
* Collapsing hoses
* Air pocket in cooling system
* Low voltage to electric cooling fans
* Weak or bad water pump
* Slipping or missing water pump belt
* Worn radiator cap seal

After Major Changes
If you have a new car, or have made a major change to the cooling system and experience overheating, check the following:

* Inadequate radiator size
* Fan too far from radiator
* Water pump cavitation due to pump running a too-high rpm
* Water flowing too fast through the system (needs smaller restrictor in thermostat housing)
* Air pocket in system (a bleed valve may be needed at system high point)
* Bad head gasket or cracked head



Other Cooling System Tips:
* Most tracks-especially asphalt-do not allow antifreeze, because it is very slippery; check your rules
* If you cannot run antifreeze, run some antifreeze through your system, then drain; this provides some protection and lubrication
* At the season's end, either add antifreeze to protect the system from corrosion or freezing, or drain it thoroughly
* Use an additive in the system, such as Redline Water Wetter, to provide some lubrication in the pump

Staying on top of the cooling system by following systematic maintenance procedures will allow you to run harder and longer without overheating problems.