Your radiator is one of the engine’s unsung heroes. It’s responsible for essential heat exchange functions in your car’s cooling system. Working in tandem with the thermostat and water pump, the thermostat plays an important role in distributing coolant and also maintaining coolant temperature.
And when the radiator doesn’t work, things heat up in a hurry. The normal operating temperature of the average car engine is around 190-210 degrees Fahrenheit. With a defective radiator, the increased heat starts to wear on other engine components – gaskets, hoses, water pumps and thermostats, just to name a few – and the resulting stress can shorten engine life dramatically.
Thus, it’s a good idea to know how to recognize the most common radiator issues. This will not only help you diagnose problems immediately, but you’ll also know how to avoid the problems in the first place.
A Three-Step Plan to Avoid Radiator Issues
So there you go – the five most common radiator problems. In some ways, all five are interconnected – that is to say, they’re related in some fashion. Do the following three things and you’ll give your radiator the best chance for problem-free performance:
1.Flush the coolant every 20,000 miles
This will prevent rust and also minimize mineral deposit buildup.
2.Check your hoses and clamps on a regular basis
A crack, loose clamp, small hole or other problem should be addressed immediately.
3.Get on a regular coolant check schedule
Every week or so, ensure your radiator coolant level is full. If necessary, add extra coolant to the overflow tank. And keep tabs on your engine temperature gauge while driving.