Radiator Fixes and Maintenance Tips
So much is going on under the hood. Fuel is burning and pistons are pumping as the valves and the rest of engine continue to do their thing. The area under the hood then becomes a hot chamber. But thanks to the radiator and other parts of the cooling system, the engine is able to operate at a stable temperature. It doesn't seize up or overheat in spite of the harsh environment it's exposed to.
How the cooling system works
The coolant absorbs heat as it circulates throughout the engine. The hot fluid then passes through the radiator, where heat dissipates through its walls. The radiator's surface area enables it to convert the hot coolant into a cool fluid that flows back into the engine. This cycle is crucial to maintaining an optimum operating engine temperature. That's why you have to make sure that all cooling system parts are always in great shape. You have to trace leaks and fix any problem before it causes severe damage.
How to maintain the good condition of the radiator
- Make sure that there's enough coolant in it. Top off the fluid before it becomes empty to prevent overheating and the formation of cracks or holes.
- Check its cap for any sign of damage or defect. Replace it if necessary to prevent extensive damage to the entire unit. The cap maintains the right amount of pressure and filters contaminants like dirt and chemicals, allowing the coolant to easily circulate throughout the engine and the expansion recovery tank.
- Inspect the hoses for cracks or leaks. Leaks can cause severe damage to the system. So once you've spotted a cracked hose or damaged gasket, be sure to repair or replace the defective part immediately.
- Practice regular flushing to prevent rust and sludge buildup. This should be part of routine maintenance. Don't wait till clogging and rusting occur before you do a coolant flush.
- Take time to check all components of the cooling system once you notice irregularities. If smoke infiltrates the cabin, for instance, it could mean that the heating and cooling system of the vehicle has a problem. This may be caused by a bad part in the system.
How to trace radiator leaks
- Check for coolant stains to trace the leak. Inspect the radiator more closely till you find the obvious marks.
- Use a black light flashlight to search for coolant spills or stains. Some coolant glows under this kind of lighting.
- Mark the leaking area, so you'll know which part needs to be repaired and where exactly the leak is coming from. Also take note of any sign of damage on the water pump, hoses, and seals.
- Do a pressure test using a special kit. Another way to do this is to refill the radiator with fluid and keep the engine running to see if it is leaking or if the engine will overheat.
How to fix leaks
- Replace a cracked hose, damaged coolant reservoir, or failing cap if necessary. Sometimes, it's better to just replace defective connections or parts instead of trying to seal them, as this solution may not work well for long.
- Seal any cracks or holes. You can use epoxy glue for this.
- Apply a special type of sealant for cooling system parts to finally mend the leaks. Strictly follow manufacturer instructions for best results.