Parts to Inspect if the Radiator Starts to have an Issue

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Parts to Inspect if the Radiator Starts to have an Issue

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.

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