How to Troubleshoot the Cooling System in a Ford Focus

Your Ford Focus' engine cooling system plays an integral role in your car's proper functioning. If any aspect of the engine cooling system fails, then your car may overheat. When this happens, you'll need to go into troubleshooting mode to diagnose and fix the problem.

Determine if your coolant levels are low. First, find the coolant reservoir. There's a hose connecting the top of the radiator cap to the coolant reservoir. Your Ford Focus' coolant reservoir is located on the passenger's side next to the window washer fluid reservoir. There's a "MIN" mark on the outside of the reservoir. If the levels are low, add coolant.

Inspect the water pump to make sure it isn't leaking. The water pump is responsible for pushing coolant through the radiator and engine.

Look at the radiator cap. You'll need to open the hood to see this on top of the radiator. If the cap is cracked, replace it with a new one.

Check the radiator hoses for leaks and holes. Faulty radiator hoses cause engine coolant to leak and eventually lead to engine overheating.

Listen for your car's cooling fan, which comes on when the coolant's temperature rises to a certain point. Drive your car for 1 to 20 minutes. Park the car and open the hood and keep the engine running. You'll be able to hear the cooling fan. If you don't hear it, that means it's not working and it needs to be replaced.

Open the hood and find and remove the radiator cap to find out if your thermostat is stuck. Start the engine and let the car warm up. Look at the coolant levels. They should drop as your car is warming up. If they remain unchanged, most likely your thermostat is stuck closed. It's a good idea to replace the thermostat every 2 years to prevent it from being stuck.

Wash and clean the front of your radiator with a garden hose and brush. Dirt and debris can get caught in the radiator tubes, which are responsible for properly circulating the engine coolant. If the coolant can't circulate, your engine can overheat.

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