The radiator in your vehicle actively dissipates heat that builds up in the cooling system. As coolant runs through the radiator, the walls of the internal passageways start to develop a thick layer of scale. Debris running through the cooling system may also cause a blockage to develop in those tight radiator tubes. When this happens, the radiator’s cooling abilities drastically decrease. When one component fails to work properly, other parts throughout the cooling system also run the risk of failure. The three parts that commonly cease working after the radiator goes bad are the thermostat, water pump, and heater core. Each engine size and configuration has a specific ideal operating temperature. To control the temperature, the thermostat sits at the end of the bottom radiator hose and directly regulates the flow of water through the cooling system. When the engine reaches ideal operating temperature, the thermostat opens and allows the cooling system to flow freely. When the radiator stops working correctly, too much pressure is put on the thermostat, often causing it to stop working. When the thermostat fails, the valve inside gets stuck either open or closed. With a closed thermostat, your engine will immediately start to overheat. You can tell the thermostat is stuck closed by carefully touching the radiator hoses. The top one will feel hot, yet the bottom hose will remain cold. When the thermostat sticks open, the engine will never reach operating temperature, which negatively impacts gas mileage. The water pump uses an impeller to continuously move coolant through the hoses and passageways of the cooling system. On most engines, the impeller is actually made from plastic materials. Any contaminants or tough debris breaking away from the radiator will cause abrasions and other damage to that part. If the radiator stops cooling the fluid before it moves past the impeller, the high temperatures could also cause damage to the plastic parts. Make sure you notice if your vehicle starts to run hotter than normal, or your vehicle is overheating. By making an appointment, we can inspect the vehicle for you.
When you own a car, you will want to keep it in the best condition possible. Part of this includes noticing when there is something out of the norm with your vehicle. You should also bring the vehicle in for regular maintenance inspections. If you are not sure how often to bring the vehicle in, make sure to contact us, and we can advise you on the correct schedule. You will need to have the coolant inspected for your vehicle as well, because coolant flushes help provide the best efficiency for your engine and radiator. The function of the coolant is to transfer heat, lubricate, and inhibit corrosion. The main purpose of the coolant in your engine is to remove the excess heat through the radiator. Engine coolant is also called antifreeze because chemicals are added to keep it from freezing in cold climates so you can continue to operate your vehicle. The engine coolant is circulated through your engine block, radiator and heater core by the water pump. The water pump spins near the same RPM as your engine, so its bearings need to be cooled and lubricated. The antifreeze in your vehicle therefore is also a lubricant for the water pump. The main reason to regularly change your antifreeze is to protect your engine from internal corrosion. Antifreeze contains different chemicals to maintain the pH levels and to keep the various materials from corroding. Over time, these chemicals are depleted or precipitate and will no longer protect your engine and cooling system from corrosion. It will also reduce costly repair bills, leaks and components failing. Replacing your vehicle’s coolant is the best way to prevent future cooling system problems. Every time you replace the coolant, it is best to perform a cooling system flush as well. This will ensure that any depleted antifreeze, precipitants or corrosion products are completely removed from your vehicle’s cooling system. With the old antifreeze removed the new antifreeze will be able to better resist corrosion and with the precipitants and corrosion products removed, heat transfer will be restored to its maximum. Whenever you notice anything out of the norm, make sure to contact us, so we can inspect the vehicle for you. This can help you to have a safe and reliable vehicle when you drive.