The radiator is a crucial component of any vehicle’s cooling system – and when there’s a problem with this car part, it’s more than just inconvenient. Together with the water pump and the thermostat, the radiator prevents a vehicle from overheating, counteracting the intense heat emitted by the engine. The engine’s temperature rises as it supplies power to a vehicle, and the radiator works by cooling the fluid which surrounds it, preventing other components under the hood from being affected.
Given it’s essential function, when the radiator stops working, it can cause a vehicle to overheat, endangering drivers and passengers. If you’re seeking a career as a mechanic, it’s important to be able to spot the signs of a problem with the radiator. When you can identify radiator issues rapidly, you’ll be able to quickly get started on the repair process, helping your customers to get back on the road safely. Here, discover four common radiator problems to help you get started.
1. After Becoming an Auto Mechanic, Look Out for Overheating
Often the telltale sign of a faulty radiator, overheating is something that every auto mechanic should watch out for. If a vehicle’s operating temperature rises beyond its standard range, the engine and other components under the hood can become damaged, resulting in a dangerous situation for drivers. Consistent overheating can mean that the radiator is rusting, causing it to corrode – or the issue may be the result of one of the many problems we’ll look at next in this blog post. At the first sign of overheating, make sure to examine the radiator to see whether it needs to be repaired or replaced.
2. Collapsed Radiator Hose
Within a radiator, the radiator hose controls the flow of coolant from the water pump to the heater. It’s functioning is essential to the operation of the cooling system, as it’s responsible for removing the excess heat from the coolant that circulates the engine, before returning this coolant to the engine. However, if the radiator hose collapses, the coolant won’t be able to travel freely, resulting in overheating. If a vehicle is overheating at high speeds, check to see whether the radiator hose has collapsed, and replace it if necessary.
3. Leaking Coolant
If a driver comes in complaining of brightly coloured fluid leaking from their vehicle, there’s a good chance that it could be coolant escaping from the radiator. Leaks can lead to low coolant levels, creating inefficiencies in the cooling system. When checking for leaks during your auto career, you can conduct a pressure test to determine whether the radiator is subject to any leaks or cracks. If damage is detected, it’s often more effective to replace the radiator altogether, rather than attempting to locate the source of the leak.
4. Damaged or Blocked Radiator Fins
Another common radiator issue can be found in faulty radiator fins. Radiator fins are thin metal tubes which take in coolant from the radiator and remove excess heat energy. As the fins are exposed to air moving through the front of the vehicle, this air acts as a cooling mechanism, cooling the metal of the fins and, in turn, the coolant they carry. When these fins become blocked by particles or damaged, this can prevent the coolant from receiving the right amount of airflow, potentially leading to a buildup of heat. If a problem is suspected with the fins, check to see if they can be repaired by clearing the debris or using pliers to straighten them out.
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