Whether it’s getting the kids to school, going to the store, or work, you depend on your car to start and get you where you need to go. Your car is a complex machine made up of numerous systems all working together to make it run. When one of those systems fails it can shut the whole car down. One of those is the cooling system, with the apex component being the radiator.
The cooling system is intended to maintain the engine temperature at the ideal range that the car’s manufacturer has established. Radiators, which are primarily made of aluminum, transmit heat from the heated coolant through tubes, and the fluid is cooled when air blows across fins. The engine is cooled by running coolant through the radiator, the engine, and the cylinder heads to dissipate heat. Between the engine and the radiator, a thermostat controls the coolant flow and maintains the engine’s temperature.
The thermostat limits coolant flow if the coolant falls below the desired temperature, such as when the engine is cool. As the engine heats up, the radiator hoses gradually open as needed to let fluid flow through the radiator. In order to direct the flow of coolant so that it can be cooled and then run back to the engine to maintain the desired temperature, which aids in preventing overheating, radiator hoses are linked to both the radiator and the engine. The mechanism is built to allow the boiling point to be raised significantly, much like a pressure cooker, to prevent the coolant from boiling.
Unfortunately, excessive pressure within the cooling system can harm hoses and other components. Eventually, the pressure must be released, and the radiator cap is responsible for doing this. Once it reaches the specific pressure that the system is intended to manage, the radiator cap is programmed to release pressure. Once it has cooled, the coolant returns to the radiator.
There are numerous indicators that your radiator needs repair, the most common if which is overheating. The most common time for automobiles to overheat is in extremely hot weather, but it can happen at any time, especially if the radiator’s coolant level is low or there is a cooling system leak. Leaks are especially dangerous since they let coolant out of the radiator, leaving it low, which will undoubtedly lead to overheating. If the radiator malfunctions, the engine may overheat, resulting in serious damage that will require time-consuming and costly repairs.
Thermostat issues, hose leaks, or radiator caps are among additional potential causes of overheating. If the radiator cap is broken, it won’t maintain pressure and lets coolant overflow into the overflow tank, which might overheat the engine. Dirt, leaves, and other debris gathered while driving can jam radiator fins. The coolant cannot properly cool if the radiator fins are obstructed. So, if your radiator is blocked or clogged, your automobile may overheat as a result.
If your automobile is dripping coolant, this is an obvious sign that the radiator may be failing. It is advised to avoid driving your car if you discover a coolant leak until you have fixed the issue. Low levels of coolant can lead to overheating and further engine damage.
Likewise, it’s crucial to have your car serviced if the coolant in your radiator appears discolored. Additionally, the coolant may seem rusty or oily, which both point to a buildup of contaminants in your radiator. Your vehicle’s radiator performance may be significantly impacted if this issue is present.
Not as common or as intuitive is the relationship between your car’s radiator and transmission. Some cars have an integrated transmission cooler and a failing radiator can affect how your car shifts gears. This is due to coolant contamination of the fluid, which is typically brought on by system cracks or other flaws.
Some people might not realize that the cooling system also drives the cars heater. Hot coolant going through the heater core produces hot air that is blown via the cabin fan to the inside of the car. When the weather cools off and you find that your cars heater isn’t blowing warm air like it should, that could be a radiator issue, however it could also be a faulty thermostat. The best way to find out is to have your radiator inspected.
The certified technicians at T&K have years of experience in working with radiators, thermostats, and the complete cooling system. When you trust us with your car’s repairs, you will get a complete 36-point Protect Check Inspection performed on your vehicle at no additional cost. Visit our radiator page to learn about our radiator repair services in Plano TX and the other automotive services we offer.