Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Radiator
A radiator is a key component of any vehicle. Located in the front of most vehicles, the radiator keeps the engine cool. The radiator does this by taking hot coolant from the engine through the inlet tank, evenly distributing it through the radiator’s tubes, passing it through its core, and outputting the fluid into the end tank. This ultimately cools the coolant which decreases engine temperature. Where does the heat go? The heat from the coolant is transferred to the aluminum of the radiator through the fins which is then blown out with air!
Because radiators are such a crucial part of a functional vehicle, having a damaged, clogged or failing radiator can be dangerous to the health of an engine. Potential symptoms of a bad or failing radiator include check engine light, leaking coolant, radiator leaks, damaged radiator fins, clogged radiator, and overheated engine. Keep reading as we discuss what these signs mean and how to catch a failing radiator before it’s too late!
Check Engine Light
The first and most obvious symptom of a bad or failing radiator is a check engine light. The code usually associated with a bad or failing radiator is P0217. This code means your engine is overheating. Need to look up the codes on your check engine light? Contact us or stop by one of our locations to get diagnostics on your vehicle.
Another main sign of a failing radiator is an overheated engine. When an engine overheats you may notice, smoke coming from beneath the hood, poor acceleration, a burning smell, clicking noises, or even decreased fuel economy. These are key signs of engine overheating which can be caused by a bad radiator. If you see any of these symptoms it is important to schedule a service right away.
Coolant is the substance that gets cooled down as it travels through the radiator. If your radiator is bad coolant might leak out from the radiator. If you observe puddles of coolant beneath your vehicle, a high-temperature gauge, or notice a sweet smell after driving, your radiator could be leaking coolant. This is caused by either an external or internal radiator leak.
Damaged Radiator Fins
As discussed earlier, the fins on a radiator help heat escape a vehicle. If the radiator fins are damaged, it makes it more difficult for air to be blown through them, which traps heat in the radiator. This can lead to a bad or failing radiator.
After long road trips or due to simple wear and tear, dirt, dust, and debris can get trapped in the front of a radiator. This causes a radiator to get clogged. A clogged radiator can trap hot coolant, restrict airflow, and lead to engine overheating. Cleaning your radiator before it’s too late can save you from having to replace a radiator.
Prioritize Your Engine's Health: Act on Radiator Issues Today!
In summary, a malfunctioning radiator can have far-reaching consequences for your vehicle's engine. Whether signaled by the check engine light, an overheated engine, coolant leaks, damaged fins, or a clog, these symptoms all point to radiator issues that demand swift attention. Recognizing and addressing these signs promptly can prevent extensive engine damage and costly repairs. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and upkeep of the radiator, goes a long way in maintaining its efficiency and your vehicle's overall performance.
Don't underestimate the importance of a properly functioning radiator. By staying proactive and seeking professional help when needed, you can ensure a smoother, safer, and more reliable driving experience. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms or have concerns about your radiator, don't hesitate to contact us for expert assistance. Your vehicle's health is our priority!