We’ve all seen it at one time or another. You see a car pulled over on the side of the road with a huge plume of steam coming from under the hood. Don’t worry, there is no fire, but there is a major part of the engine that needs to be fixed: the radiator.
Although dramatic, the radiator does not involve any kind of combustible substance so the worries of a fire are unnecessary. But, with steam there is intense heat and caution should still be used.
What is a radiator?
A radiator is a type of heat exchanger. Its main function is to keep the engine from overheating. It is located at the front part of the car engine compartment just behind the engine fan. It looks like a large aluminum grate. It works by cooling down heated coolant in order to regulate the temperature of the engine. The heated coolant enters the top of the radiator and by use of air flow; it cools the coolant before it is cycled back through the engine to absorb heat again.
Radiators can develop leaks in several places. These include the hoses, seams, tubes and radiator cores. If your radiator is not functioning properly, your engine will quickly overheat. This is something you want to avoid at all costs since overheating can cause extensive engine damage. Radiators also tend to clog over time. When this occurs, not enough coolant flows through the radiator leading to heat build-up, which can also cause the engine to overheat.
Common Symptoms of a radiator leak:
• You see green or orange fluid under your car.
• Your temperature gage indicates a high temperature when driving.
• You need to fill up your antifreeze often
• Your engine smells “sweet”
• Discoloration or corrosion is visible on the radiator
If you think you have a radiator or cooling system issue, come down to the experts at All Auto Inc. We will test your system to identify where a problem may occur. We will test the following:
• Visual inspection for leaks and/or damage to radiator
• Check radiator cap for corrosion and wear
• Test thermostat
• Visual inspection of radiator hoses
• Pressure test of cooling system
Unfortunately, the best way to fix a radiator is to replace it. Although there are a few products out there that can temporarily fix a leaking radiator, they are not meant to solve the problem for the long haul. Make sure you have one of our qualified mechanics test your system if it appears that a leak is occurring.