EGR Cooler Troubleshooting and Maintenance Tips
Vehicle exhaust systems are now equipped with an EGR cooler that lowers the temperature of exhaust gases as they are re-circulated into the engine. Just like any automotive cooling device, however, this cooler is also prone to leaks that can affect its efficiency over time. To help you figure out if your car’s EGR or Exhaust Gas Recirculation cooler is in need of replacing, here are some signs to watch out for, along with a few maintenance tips:
Recognizing the symptoms of a bad EGR cooler
A tailpipe that’s spewing out white steam, an unusually strong coolant scent when inside the passenger cab, and coolant spilling out of the degas bottle are usually red flags that indicate a busted cooler. If you somehow can’t explain the cause of coolant loss from the cooling system or overflow bottle, it’s also a possible sign of a malfunctioning EGR cooler. To confirm if these problems are caused by the cooler, detach the EGR valve and take a closer look. With the help of a flashlight, look inside the cooler pipe and see if the surface is wet or gooey. If this is the case, then it means the cooler is damaged or its gaskets are loose enough to allow coolant to leak into the exhaust assembly.
Keeping the EGR cooler in top shape
Once you’ve replaced the busted cooler, make sure to do regular system pressure checks. As a matter of fact, it’s highly advised to do a pressure check whenever the cooler is repaired or replaced. It’s also important to follow the exact instructions when filling the engine with coolant. Improper filling can often lead to air pockets that can easily wear out the cooler. Keep in mind that there is no single set of instructions that’s applicable to all vehicle types since the proper procedure depends on the car’s make and cooling system. So, it’s best to check out instruction tags or decals that are usually located on the firewall, radiator mount, or surge tank.