09 Apr What Are the Basic Symptoms of Clogged Car Radiator?
These four symptoms of clogged car radiator could save you!
A broken radiator can not only cause engine overheating but also end up with an expensive repair. When a radiator stops working as efficiently as it needs to, the engine temperature can rise. Now, all engines are hot but running too hot can do a lot of damage – and continuing to drive with an overheated engine can do so much damage that a whole new engine is required.
When you know that your engine temperature gauge running a little higher than normal can be fixed with a simple regimen of radiator maintenance, and left unchecked can mean an expensive complete engine replacement – it suddenly seems far simpler to get a basic radiator service done!
How does a car radiator get clogged?
A car radiator can get clogged up by dirt, coolant residue, and deposits from the metal of the radiator. This clogging can stop the radiator fluid from properly flowing into the water pump, when coolant can’t circulate in the radiator and around the engine then it cannot efficiently keep your engine out of the red zone. Essentially – your radiator being clogged with residue or dirt leaves your car cooling system almost useless.
#1 Sign of Clogged Radiator: Leaks
The first of the basic symptoms of clogged car radiator is noticing leaks on the ground underneath your car, especially after driving, then you should check to see if the liquid on the ground is coolant. Coolant leaks can happen in a range of ways. Your radiator leak may be caused by a clog. If the radiator fluid cannot flow easily around the cooling system then pressure can mount up and force coolant out from hose connections, hairline cracks, or cause other damage which leads to leaks.
#2 Sign of Clogged Radiator: Discoloured Coolant
When you get your radiator coolant replaced, check the colour. Coolant can come in pink, red, orange, blue, green, and yellow – so knowing where your coolant starts is the key to figuring out if it’s discoloured. When rust, coolant sludge, or other residues infiltrate the coolant then it produces a colour change. Coolant can also become thick with residues which will also prevent the water pump from working properly and be significantly less effective in conducting heat from the engine.
#3 Sign of Clogged Radiator: Visible Damage
Damaged Radiator Fins
This can happen when radiators are poorly installed or other work on the engine hasn’t been done with enough care, however it usually occurs during a road traffic accident when the fan or other parts of the vehicle are pushed into the car radiator.
When the radiator fins get bent the heat from the coolant is not able to dissipate, which results in hot coolant going back into the engine block – meaning that the heat exchange is significantly less effective and the engine temperature will be too high.
Damaged Pipes or Hoses
If the radiator pipes have been damaged in a road traffic incident, or have simply worn through, then coolant can leak from here. Similarly, rubber hoses often wear and older hoses can develop cracks that you can barely see. A visual inspection is only partially useful, the hoses may need to be taken off the radiator and closely examined to find hairline cracks – don’t be fooled, a lot of coolant can escape from a hairline crack!
#4 Sign of Clogged Radiator: High Temperature
The engine temperature is shown on most standard temperature gauges on the dashboard depicting a red and blue zone with a needle that needs to be in the middle.
When this needle starts to point towards the red zone, this is one of the biggest symptoms of a clogged radiator. This means that you should get your radiator checked! Even if the high temperature isn’t a symptom of a clogged radiator, it is a concern and something else may be wrong.
Next Steps of Fixing a Clogged Radiator
Get in touch with your local car radiator specialists, they will be able to run a general health check on your radiator and find exactly where the problem is. There may be many steps in this assessment, and the team will take every precaution to protect your car.
With any luck, it could end up being a simple clog that can be fixed with a radiator flush. However, if the fins or internal pipes are damaged – either from impact or simply from years of wear and tear – then you may need to repair or replace the radiator.
What to do if my car is overheating?
If any of the above symptoms of a clogged car radiator are happening then you need to get your radiator checked, but if your car is overheating you need to stop immediately and call for roadside assistance or a radiator specialist to come and get your car. Continuing to drive with an overheating engine can cause serious and permanent damage to your engine – or even a road traffic accident if your car were to suddenly stop at high speed.
Don’t let missing a simple maintenance step turn into a write-off! Contact us for experienced maintenance on your radiator.