An automobile has hundreds of parts and several different systems; most people realize that the engine and transmission are very important and they maintain them properly, but it is not uncommon for car owners to overlook the cooling system. The cooling system in a vehicle plays a vital role in maintaining the temperature under the hood and preventing the engine and transmission from overheating. It is very important to keep your vehicle's cooling system in good condition-- some signs that your cooling system is in need of repair include:

Discolored Engine

An easy way to see if there is a problem with your cooling system is by opening the hood and taking a look at your engine. If you notice areas of discoloration either in one area or spread over the surface of the engine, it may be because antifreeze is being sprayed onto the engine when it is hot. The antifreeze will strip off the pain and can then cause the engine to rust, so it is important to have the lines in the cooling system checked for leaks if you notice that antifreeze is spraying on the engine while the vehicle is in motion.

Steam Under the Hood

It can be alarming when you see steam rising up from under the hood. When this happens, it is usually because there is a large amount of antifreeze evaporating very quickly inside the engine compartment. Antifreeze should evaporate at a slow and steady pace, so if steam is present you need to have the cooling system inspected by a mechanic in order to get it repaired so the engine and transmission do not end up getting damaged from overheating.

Hot Temperature Gauge 

When you're driving your vehicle, you should check the temperature gauge on the dashboard regularly. If it begins to approach the red zone, it is important to get off the road, turn off the vehicle and let it cool down. In some cases, a hot temperature reading can be due to low antifreeze levels, and adding more antifreeze can resolve the issue. But if your car regularly has a hot reading on the temperature gauge, it needs to be taken to an auto repair shop so the cooling system can be diagnosed and repaired.

Leaking Antifreeze

If you have a leak in the lines of your cooling system, the antifreeze will begin leaking out and your car's cooling system will not be able to work properly. Check under the car regularly for signs of leaking fluid-- antifreeze is often green in color, although it can vary by make and model. Don't ignore leaking antifreeze-- it is an issue that needs to be repaired promptly if you want to avoid overheating your vehicle. Contact an auto repair shop for more information.