Your radiator is a crucial component for keeping your vehicle running smoothly day in and day out. Ignoring a problem with your radiator can cause even more problems down the road, which means more money out of your pocket. If you think there’s a problem with your radiator, your best bet is to stop into your local Signature Tire immediately and have one of our service professionals take a look at your vehicle.
The Importance of Your Vehicle’s Radiator
When you’re driving your vehicle, the temperature under the hood has to be kept at a comfortable level. Your vehicle’s engine produces a lot of heat when it’s performing at its peak. If this heat is not under control, it can seriously damage not only the engine itself, but also the surrounding components. Usually it’s kept in check by coolant, which is a mixture of water and antifreeze that is pumped through the engine to absorb the heat, but how is this coolant kept at a manageable temperature? That’s where your vehicle’s radiator comes into play. A radiator that is working properly will remove and diffuse the heat from your vehicle’s coolant mixture, allowing it to successfully make the trip back to the engine to continue absorbing heat.
How to Tell if Your Radiator Needs Repair
A damaged radiator has a few symptoms that can easily be recognized. One of the biggest tell tale signs that your radiator needs to be looked at is if your vehicle often overheats. Overheating is caused when the radiator isn’t able to keep your vehicle’s coolant at a lower temperature, and as a result your engine runs hot, which can result in a breakdown. Overheating can often occur during periods of prolonged driving at high speeds or during a rapid acceleration.
Leaking coolant is another thing to look out for if you suspect your radiator might be damaged. Coolant is pushed through your radiator into the engine and then back into the radiator. This is a closed system, so if coolant is leaking out it is a sign of a crack somewhere in the radiator. This coolant is usually very brightly coloured, so if you’re looking for it, it can be pretty easy to spot. If you can’t see a leak, but still suspect one, a Signature Tire professional can perform a pressure test for you. This test involves adding a coloured dye to the coolant system and then pressurizing it; when this dye leaks out it will leave a stain that can help identify the origin.
If a radiator is damaged it can begin to rust, which can alter the colour of the coolant and also change its consistency from something resembling water to something that is thicker and grimier. This is what is referred to as radiator sludge. As sludge builds up it cannot be removed and inhibits cooling. For this reason, if a vehicle’s radiator develops sludge, it’s important to replace it.
Many mechanics will tell you that a well maintained radiator can last upwards of ten years. That said, it’s always best to take a better safe than sorry approach when dealing with radiator issues. If you think your vehicle’s radiator may be damaged, stop into your local Signature Tire today and let one of our experts help you out.