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For a vehicle to operate efficiently, its engine needs to run within a specific temperature range and this requires a cooling liquid to be pumped through the system on a constant basis. This liquid is stored in a coolant recovery tank.



What Is a Coolant Recovery Tank?

A coolant recovery tank is also a reservoir that stores the fluid to be used in a vehicle’s cooling system. In modern-day vehicles, the radiator does not contain any excess storage capacity, as it once used to and thus a separate area was designated to account for expansion of the fluid during operation.

How Does a Coolant Recovery Tank Work?

Engine coolant is a carefully engineered product that is designed to work under extreme operating temperatures. During normal operation, it will heat up and expand, causing it to require additional space that isn’t available in a closed system. In older vehicles, this fluid would force its way past the radiator filler cap and through a tube into a separate tank. These days, an integrated reservoir and recovery tank will provide the radiator with the cooling fluid when needed instead.

It is important to keep an eye on the recovery tank on a regular basis to ensure that the correct amount of coolant is always within the system. Each tank will be marked with various levels to show how much fluid is within, when this liquid is either hot or cold and the fluid level should never exceed the maximum marking on the tank. The tank is connected to the radiator by hoses and the system may either be under pressure or non-pressurized.

How Is a Coolant Recovery Tank Made?

These tanks are usually made from toughened plastic, although they can sometimes be made of aluminum and are affixed to the inside of the fender or to other places within the engine bay using a special mounting kit. In unpressurized systems, it may be possible to get a universal coolant recovery tank, designed to fit many different vehicles. The connecting hoses are made from braided rubber, which are held in place with clips or adjustable metal fasteners.

How Does a Coolant Recovery Tank Fail?

  • Cracks develop
  • Overheating
  • Pressurized cap fails

What Are the Symptoms of Failure?

  • Coolant levels that are constantly low
  • Visible leaks
  • An overheating engine

What Are the Consequences of Failure?

  • Damage to the engine due to overheating

Care should be taken whenever handling the pressurized cap of any coolant recovery tank, especially if the vehicle has recently been used.

If you have questions or concerns about your Coolant Recovery Tank or any of your vehicle’s components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.