What are the signs of a bad radiator?
What Are the Signs of a Bad Radiator?
The radiator is one of the most crucial elements of your vehicle. Your car’s engine produces a lot of heat when it runs, which is then absorbed by a coolant that runs through the radiator and cools down the engine. If your radiator isn’t working properly, your engine will overheat, which could be anything from mildly inconvenient to seriously dangerous. It’s essential that you know how to recognize the signs of a bad radiator so that you can get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible and avoid getting stuck on the highway with an overheated engine.
- Leaking or Pooling Coolant
If your radiator is leaky, coolant is going to drip out of the radiator and pool underneath your car. The easiest way to check for this is to move your car forward after it’s been sitting in your driveway or on the street for a few hours and check for any puddles of liquid underneath your car. Keep in mind that coolant is toxic – so don’t touch it and keep your pets away from it. If you’re constantly refilling your coolant, that’s another surefire sign that your radiator has sprung a leak. Leaking coolant probably means your radiator has a crack somewhere. Depending on the severity and placement of the crack, you might need a full radiator replacement or just a simple repair. Take your vehicle into your car repair shop and ask an expert for their advice.
- Chronic Overheating
If your car is overheating on a regular basis, you have a problem with your radiator. There’s still a chance your radiator is salvageable, but you need to get it into a car repair shop as soon as possible to avoid more serious damage to your car’s engine.
- Coolant Sludge
Car engine coolant is usually either green, yellow, or red in color. However, problems with your radiator can sometimes allow other liquids – like transmission fluids – to mix with your coolant and turn it a muddy brown or blackish color. When your coolant is contaminated, it can’t function as well, and it will wreak havoc on your engine and transmission.
How Often Should I Replace My Radiator?
There’s no golden rule for a radiator replacement. It all depends on how you use your car and how well you’ve maintained your radiator. Some radiators can last in great condition for a decade or more, and some need to be replaced after only a few years. The best thing to do is to make sure you’re taking your vehicle into a car repair shop for maintenance on a regular basis and keep on the lookout for any signs of radiator damage or malfunction.
How Often Should I Flush My Radiator?
Again, there’s no one rule for how often you should flush your radiator, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. Flushing your radiator can extend the lifespan of your entire vehicle. It gets rid of rust, dirt, and other contaminants that could be reducing the effectiveness of your car’s coolant. Most experts recommend that you flush your radiator at least once every three to five years or once every 30,000-50,000 miles. It’s a relatively inexpensive task that you can either take care of on your own or have your local car repair shop handle for you.