Your radiator is what keeps your engine cool and ensures that your engine doesn't overheat when you are driving down the road. It is essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly on the road. When your radiator starts to fail, it will give you some signs to let you know that its time is almost up.
1. Leaking Coolant
One of the most significant signs that your radiator is failing is leaking coolant. There are a few ways you can spot leaking coolant. If you park inside a garage, you may notice fluid under where you park your vehicle. Coolant tends to be more translucent and usually has a red, yellow, or green tint, depending on the type of coolant your vehicle takes.
You may also notice that your coolant is low when you check the fluids in your vehicle. The coolant level should always be above the minimum level; if everything is working right, your system shouldn't lose any coolant.
Your vehicle has a sensor that will go off if the coolant gets too low, and the coolant light will come on. It looks like a thermostat floating on two water lines, like a buoy in the water.
Radiators have both metal and plastic component. The plastic components in the radiator don't tend to last as long as the metal parts; they get brittle and then crack, leading to leaks.
More than likely, radiator components with a leak need to be replaced.
2. Odd Colored & Thick Coolant
When checking your vehicle's fluid levels, you shouldn't just look at the coolant tank and see if the fluid is above the minimum level. You should pull out the dipstick and look at the color and quality of the coolant fluid.
The coolant fluid should be thin and transparent. If the consistency is thick and the fluid seems to have debris, that is not a good sign. Thick fluid will not flow smoothly within the radiator and will not be able to keep your engine cool. When this happens, the color tends to change, taking on a deeper hue.
With this issue, you may be able to flush the radiator. However, if this issue persists, the radiator may need to be replaced.
3. Heater Not Working
Your radiator is responsible for keeping you warm when you drive. If your radiator is not working correctly, your heater will not be working correctly either.
If your heater isn't providing you with warm air, you will want to check the thermostat, and if that is working, check the radiator. The radiator is the most common cause behind an improperly-working heater if the thermostat is working.
If your vehicle is leaking coolant, or if the coolant looks more like sludge than a smooth liquid, or if your heater is not working, there is more than likely an issue with your radiator. You will want to get an auto repair shop to look at your radiator and fix it for you.
As the son and grandson of mechanics, I spent much of my child hood under the hood of many cars. I have listened and learned about so many different problems and how to repair them effectively. I created this blog to cover as many car problems as possible without overwhelming readers. You will find tips for troubleshooting, advice for when to take it to a professional and suggestions for when to stop driving the car or truck immediately to prevent further and more costly damage. We hope that you find all of this information helpful and useful, allowing you to have a great running car.