Just like with your own body, a temperature that's too high can be severely damaging. This is especially true for vehicles. The radiator in your vehicle is like one big temperature regulator, and the gauge on your dash is the thermometer. If that level gets a little too high and is reaching in the red zone, closer to that capital H, that's not good. But does a car running hot mean you need to replace your radiator? How do you know you need a new one before it's too late? Here you'll find some of the top warning signs that you may need to replace your radiator before you're left over-heated and stranded!
Have you noticed new, or more significant, puddles of fluid under your vehicle after being parked for a while? This could be a coolant leak. It's not easy for an untrained eye to spot this specific leak. A colored dye test should be administered by a professional to locate the source of the leak. This way, when the fluid is expelled under the vehicle, you will be able to find the cause.
Does your vehicle tend to run a little hotter than usual, or has completely overheated lately? If caught fast enough, this can be an easy fix and won't end up in a costly repair. Consistent driving with an overheating motor can cause irreplaceable damage to your radiator and eventually result in an entirely new radiator.
Along with noticing any extra fluid pooling underneath the vehicle, pay attention to any visible discoloration or sludge as well. This is another visual aid to help determine the status of your radiator. Normal coolant colors range from yellow, green, and red. A discolored coolant will have a rust color, much darker and murkier. Sludge in the radiator can also block the drains and clog the entire system, rendering your radiator worthless.
Maybe your coolant isn't leaking; it might just be too low! This is another easy fix if caught quick enough. New cars shouldn't have these issues, at least until they reach 60,000. At that point, it's probably time for some more coolant. It's recommended to have it checked every 30,000 miles after that.
No fluids are leaking but your temperature gauge is still off the charts? You may have a busted thermostat! If a thermostat fails, the whole radiator can fail because without that thermostat it causes coolant levels to go crazy.
If you've recently been in an accident, or have an older car that you haven't taken the best care of, here's your sign to get your radiator looked at. Fixing these problems now can save you a whole lot of hassle and money down the line. Don't let your overheated vehicle get you heated!
If you suspect your radiator may need repairs click here for a FREE estimate from Accurso Auto Repair.