If you’ve ever been stranded in an overheating car, you know how frustrating radiator trouble can be. Of all the systems in your automobile, the cooling system is one of the most important. Your vehicle’s engine temperature must be maintained; otherwise, there is too much heat, engine failure, and possibly fire. AutoFix would be happy to service your radiator. Here are five signs it has serious problems.
Leaking coolant can come from the radiator itself (more on that below) or from other areas in the cooling system. One of the things that make coolant leaks so dangerous is the coolant continues to leak from your vehicle whether you’re driving it or it’s parked in the garage. Coolant can leak from a cracked radiator, a cracked head gasket (this is really bad), the radiator overflow, or the cooling system lines.
Most engine coolant (also known as antifreeze) is green, red, or yellow. If your coolant is a different color, it could be contaminated with radiator sludge. Two things cause radiator sludge: oil mixing with the coolant or an old radiator that hasn’t been maintained properly. As you can imagine, this sludge contaminates the coolant and, because it thickens it, it can also damage the cooling system.
If your radiator is rusted, it will not only cause radiator sludge; it will also leak. Your vehicle’s radiator is made of steel and it will rust eventually, especially if you don’t maintain the cooling system properly. As the radiator rusts, it releases metal parts into the coolant, which can make the coolant look orange. The longer it rusts, the greater chance you have of the rust eating through the radiator bottom.
Naturally, if you have radiator trouble, your coolant level will get too low. The coolant levels can decrease, as well, due to evaporation. Preventative maintenance prevents low coolant levels because the coolant is flushed and replaced before it succumbs to evaporation, usually between 30,000 miles and 60,000 miles. Air bubbles, damage to the radiator cap, and a clogged radiator also affect coolant levels.
Combine one or more of these things and what do you have? You guessed it! An overheated engine. Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to your vehicle’s cooling system. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge at all times to make sure the engine isn’t getting too hot. Check the coolant level, too, to ensure it isn’t low. Only do the latter when your engine is completely cold.
We are AutoFix, and our shop is in Franklin, TN. Call us today to schedule a cooling system check.