If you own a car, you should already know how vital the engine is. It’s the central component of your car, the part that keeps it moving and functioning, and transporting you from A to B. And when a car engine fails, the whole vehicle is affected.
One of the most common causes for car engine failure, or disruption to the efficiency of your engine, is damage to the radiator. Find out why you need to clean and maintain your radiator, and how, in this article.
How does my car’s radiator work?
The radiator and cooling system keeps your car from overheating. Radiator coolant passes through the engine, absorbing the heat generated there, and carries it through the radiator. The radiator blows air through the liquid, cooling it down and exchanging heat with the air outside your car. The central components of a radiator include:
- Core: This is the largest part of the radiator. It usually consists of a large metal box with small metal fins which allow the coolant to vent heat surrounding the radiator.
- Pressure cap: The pressure cap creates pressure by using a spring to keep the coolant within the cooling system.
- Outlet and inlet tanks: These parts transfer coolant from the engine to the radiator.
Why do I need to clean the radiator?
A blocked or clogged radiator can lead to:
- Decreased performance
- Potential engine failure
- Damage to other cooling system components
The radiator is connected to the engine, and if any debris or contaminated coolant passes through the engine, then the engine could be damaged irreparably. Any mechanic worth their stress the absolute importance of maintaining the health integrity of your vehicle’s engine, and one way to do this is get your car’s radiator cleaned and serviced.
How do I clean my car’s radiator?
It’s important to distinguish between a radiator clean out and a radiator flush.
- During a radiator clean out, the radiator part needs to be removed from the engine bay. Your engine technician will disassemble the inlet tank from the radiator core, and clear each tube of blockages.
- A radiator flush, however, is where a technician will pass a chemical treatment through the cooling system to help remove scale and debris. A new coolant is usually added after this process is completed.
While you could try to do this at home, it is not recommended. Instead, choose a qualified expert in radiator and cooling systems to service and clean out your radiator.
How do I know if my car’s radiator needs to be cleaned out?
There are a few ways to tell if you need to schedule a clean out or flush of your car’s radiator, including the following:
- Coolant leaking beneath your car
- Grinding or knocking noises coming from the engine when you drive
- Visible debris when you check your coolant system
- The engine is producing a ‘sweet’ smell — this is usually a sign of coolant leakage
- Your car is running hotter than usual
- The air conditioning in your car is no longer working
If you’ve noticed any of the above, call a qualified and experienced radiator and cooling specialist to clean out your radiator and preserve the health of your vehicle’s engine.