Since the first automobiles, there have been radiators. Every liquid-cooled engine on the road has, and has always needed, a radiator; without it, the engine would overheat in no time, causing catastrophic engine failure. While the efficiency of radiators, the materials they’re made out of, and the shape and size of them have changed over time, radiators haven’t actually changed much over the last century or so. At Bowles Automotive we know that even though radiators generally last a long time, they do occasionally fail. When your radiator is malfunctioning you can trust our technicians to repair yours and get you back on the road.
How It Works In concept, a radiator is pretty simple. Coolant circulates throughout the engine, heating up as it makes its way through the system. It moves from the engine into the top of the radiator, which consists of passageways to lengthen the amount of time the coolant is in the radiator and to dissipate heat. Thin metal fins further facilitate the dissipation of heat. Air moving through the radiator, either by the motion of the vehicle or the cooling fan, rapidly drops the temperature of the coolant before it enters the engine again. As a result, the engine stays cool and running smooth.
What goes wrong? Radiators are pretty durable components - they generally last a long time. However, they do occasionally fail. There are a variety of common issues that could be going on with a radiator.
Debris in the System - If rust, sludge, or other contaminants make their way into the coolant system, the radiator is likely to get clogged. Those small passageways are great for cooling liquid but almost act as a filter for dirt and debris. Sometimes it can be flushed out, sometimes not.
Damage - Radiators are sensitive to any kind of damage - it isn’t hard to put a hole in one or collapse the cooling passages inside the radiator. Damage can occur during other engine work, some kind of front end damage or an object contacting the radiator, or even just from age. They’re always under pressure, so there’s a tendency for radiators to come apart at the seams after many years of use.
Overheating - Sometimes a bad radiator causes overheating, sometimes overheating causes a bad radiator. Either way, overheated coolant can put too much pressure on the radiator, causing it to balloon or develop leaks. Fortunately, a professional technician can diagnose, repair, or replace a radiator, and have you back on the road in no time.
Radiator Maintenance - By far, the most important aspect of radiator maintenance is coolant servicing. By having the coolant flushed as recommended by your technician, you prevent debris from clogging or damaging passageways in the radiator, and ensure the cooling system is up to the task of keeping your engine cool. Since overheating and debris are two of the main causes of radiator failure, a coolant flush goes a long way. Keeping your thermostat, hoses, and other cooling system components maintained is also crucial. If your engine runs hot, the radiator will fail faster. Watch for leaks and overheating issues, and let your technician know if there’s a problem.
No matter your repair or maintenance needs, we’ve got you covered. For the best automotive service shop in Mooresville, NC, call or stop by Bowles Automotive today.
Thank you for visiting Bowles Automotive in Mooresville, NC. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.