Your car radiator is a critical part of your vehicle’s cooling system. When your rad is working properly, it helps keep your engine cooled and provides heat for the cabin. Unfortunately, radiator problems are quite common, especially in areas such as Fairview Heights, IL where rust can cause premature wear and tear on vehicles.
Here at Full Circle Auto Service we specialize in diagnosing and repairing radiator problems on all makes and models.
A car radiator is a large, square part that's located at the front of the engine compartment. It's comprised of multiple narrow tubes linked to two coolant reservoirs and topped with lightweight metal fins that direct air over the tubes.
As you drive, the coolant is pumped from the engine through the radiator and back into the engine. Passing the coolant through the rad reduces the temperature of the fluid, helping to keep your engine at the optimal temperature. Without a functioning radiator, your vehicle would quickly overheat and stop working.
While nobody likes dealing with car troubles, the good news is that there are a number of warning signs related to radiator problems. Although it’s possible for a radiator to spontaneously fail, in most situations alert drivers can spot a problem before it turns into a major repair.
Here’s the five most common signs that you might need radiator repairs:
1) Your Temperature Gauge is High
One of the earliest signs of radiator trouble is an increase in engine temperature. If you notice that the temperature gauge on your dashboard seems to be hotter than usual, or if the needle is in the ‘red’ zone, you should book an appointment with a car radiator repair shop right away.
2) Your Coolant is Dirty
The coolant in your vehicle is bright green, yellow, red, or pink depending on the make and model. Over time, sludge and dirt can turn your coolant a rusty-brown color and cause the coolant to thicken, reducing the flow of coolant through the cooling system. Keeping clean, fresh coolant in your vehicle is a great way to prevent costly radiator repairs.
Note that you should never check the coolant while the vehicle is hot. The coolant in the radiator is under pressure — removing the rad cap before it’s completely cool can lead to a serious injury.
3) The Radiator Fins are Blocked
Leaves, bugs, grass, and garbage can all become lodged in the fins of your radiator, which reduces the airflow and leads to overheating. If your rad is blocked, you may need to have the debris cleaned out by an auto service center.
4) You Notice Coolant Leaks
The cooling fins, hoses and connections on your radiator can develop tiny cracks and holes over time from rust. When this happens, coolant fluid can leak out onto your driveway or parking pad. Even the smallest leak will cause your car to run hotter than it should, and that can lead to extensive radiator repairs.
5) Your Interior Heater Isn't Working
The cabin heater draws heat from a hot coolant that passes over the heater core. When your radiator is leaking or clogged, you may have difficulty heating the passenger compartment because there isn't enough coolant being passed through the heater core.
When your car radiator stops working properly, there’s a risk that other related parts could be damaged due to overheating.
It’s common for the thermostat to fail when the radiator can no longer keep your engine cool. The thermostat is located at the top of the radiator hose, and when the rad stops working, the thermostat is subject to excess pressure. This can cause the valve inside the thermostat to become stuck in either the fully closed or fully open position, leading to engine overheating and/or poor driving performance.
Your water pump may also be damaged from excess heat and debris that can break loose when your radiator isn’t working properly. On most vehicles the impeller on the water pump is made from plastic that can be chipped or warped, resulting in problems with the flow of coolant throughout the cooling system.
The connections to the heater core, a small part that looks similar to a car radiator, are vulnerable to failure when the radiator fails. Common signs of heater core failure include fogging on the inside of the windows and fluid around the front floorboards.
If you’re experiencing radiator problems, we’re here to help.
At Full Circle Auto Service, we take pride in providing Fairview Heights, IL drivers with fast, affordable radiator repairs. We’ve been in business for more than 25 years, and we’re proud to be your local veteran and family-owned all-makes auto service center. Call us today or complete our online appointment request form.