Radiator Flush, Maintenance and More
The radiator plays a very important role in ensuring that your vehicle functions optimally. It is responsible for keeping the engine cool, while also providing you with warm air during the cold winters. But, how does a car radiator work exactly? Not to worry, today we will discuss the role of a car radiator, the different types, and why it is important to maintain a well-functioning car radiator.
How Does A Car Radiator Work?
To start off, let’s talk about what a radiator is, and how it works. Radiators are generally a metallic mesh composed of aluminum, with a tube within the mesh that runs from one end of the mesh to the other. When the hot coolant comes into the radiator, the aluminum mesh takes the heat from the coolant, cooling the liquid and sending the coolant back to the engine. This is a very important process in keeping the engine’s temperatures low. There is also a second radiator between your heater and engine, where the heat captured from the hot coolant is used to provide hot air when you turn on the heater. Without a properly functioning radiator, your engine could overheat, making your vehicle shut down on the side of the road, or even worse, cause damage that could harm you and your vehicle.
In order to prevent major damages, it is important to check your radiator’s health on a regular basis. This can be done primarily by checking your coolant levels every 6 months or so. When checking the coolant level of your vehicle, make sure the engine is off and cooled down. Always check the coolant level within the reserve tank, and not from the pressure cap. You want the coolant level between the minimum and the maximum line. Keep an eye out for an abnormally fast rate of coolant level drops, as that could be a sign of a leak.
A radiator flush, or coolant flush, refers to the complete draining of coolant from the radiator system and adding new coolant. This has a similar effect to an engine oil change, where a flush every once in a while is necessary in order to keep the radiator system healthy. Primarily a flush every few years, or as suggested by your vehicle manual, helps prevent corrosion within the radiator system.
As mentioned above, an abnormally quick rate of coolant loss can indicate a leak in the radiator system. But what else should be warning signs that tell you that your radiator requires attention? Here are some typical indicators of a problem with your radiator:
- Frequent loss of coolant: Coolant levels tend to drop steadily over time. But if it is decreasing at a rapid rate, then this indicates that there is most likely a leak within the system somewhere. This can be dangerous, leading to complications and possibly major damages to your vehicle, so this problem should be addressed immediately.
- A pool of coolant on the floor: If you notice that there is a pool of coolant underneath your vehicle while parked or driving, it may be a sign that there is a leak in the system. As mentioned previously, this could lead to major complications to your vehicle and should be tended to asap.
- Engine overheating: If you notice that your engine temperature is constantly high, smell something burning, or even see smoke coming from the hood of your vehicle, this indicates that the radiator system is not functioning properly. Immediately visit your mechanic to get your radiator checked, as further ignoring the problem can lead to some heavy damages, as well as put your life at risk. If your engine is smoking while driving, pull over to the side of the road immediately and contact our towing services.