Chances are, if you own a car and have owned it for several years, you know what a radiator is. You should at least know where it is located and what its function is. A radiator is an integral part of the heating and cooling process of your car; it helps to cool engine coolant, transmission fluid and, in some vehicles, power steering fluid as well. These, of course, are not all mixed together in a swirl of engine fluids but the do still travel through the radiator none the less making the radiator a very important part of your car.
Let’s take a closer look at your vehicle’s radiator and learn more about what it does and how it works. A radiator uses a heat exchange process to keep your engine cool on even the hottest of days. The purpose of the radiator is to cool the coolant that flows through it and into your car’s engine. By doing so, it enables your car’s engine to run at cooler temperatures that are much safer for it and allow it to avoid overheating which could cause serious damage to your engine.
The radiator is constructed of many small, aluminum fins and some tubing that is used to carry the coolant. The fins are designed to actually remove heat from the coolant and allow it to dissipate into the surrounding air.
As the hot coolant travels from the engine, into the radiator and back into the engine, it’s the radiator’s job, along with the engines belt driven or electric fans, to cool it down. The fans will blow cool air through the radiator reducing the coolant temperature as it passes through. Working in unison with the thermostat, the radiator and cooling fans help control the temperature of your engine’s coolant keeping it from overheating.
If your radiator is doing its job, you should see no need to ever have to replace it. A regular coolant flush will ensure that your radiator is operating at maximum efficiency but that doesn’t mean that aren’t prone to failure. There a number of things that can happen to your car’s radiator that could cause it to fail. Some things to look out for are:
- Coolant leaking from your vehicle, specifically from your radiator.
- Rust or other signs of corrosion on the INSIDE of your radiator or in your coolant.
- Clogging or blockages causing a lack of cooling efficiency and performance.
- Any visible signs of damage to the exterior of your car’s radiator.
Getting regular cooling system checkups will ensure that your car’s cooling system is running at optimum efficiency and will help it avoid failure or the radiator or other cooling system components. When you get your car inspected at GIC Car Clinic, we will visually inspect and diagnose your car’s cooling system and:
- Test your radiator and the radiator cap to ensure that proper pressure is being kept
- Check your thermostat for proper operation
- Perform a pressure test on your cooling system to check for any external leaks in the cooling system
- Perform an internal leak test to check for any combustion gases entering into the coolant
- Visually inspect all belts and hoses relating to the cooling system
- Perform a coolant flush and refill your vehicle’s coolant to the proper level
- Test the belt driven or electric fans for proper operation
Due to reduced costs, many radiators are now replaced rather than repaired and GIC Car Clinic can explain your repair options to you and help you decide what’s best for you and your car. With years of experience, you can trust the technicians at GIC Car Clinic to handle all radiator repairs in San Jose, California.