How Do You Troubleshoot Your Radiator?

Posted on: 25 August 2015


Your vehicle's radiator is a very important part of the overall cooling system. When there is a problem with the radiator, your car could overheat and cause even more problems. It is important that you look at different causes for a radiator to malfunction and get repairs done before the issue worsens. Here are some things to check if you are having trouble with the radiator.

Check the Thermostat

One of the more common problems with a radiator actually has to do with the thermostat. Both of these elements are part of the vehicle's cooling system, so issues with the radiator are often connected to the thermostat. If the thermostat is not working properly, it is not identifying the correct temperature in the vehicle, which keeps the radiator from having the right amount of coolant flowing in and out of it to cool down your car. This is why you should check the thermostat first and determine if this is the problem.

Look for a Radiator Hose Leak

If the thermostat seems to be working, check the radiator hose next. There could be wear and tear or a crack in the hose, which is causing a leak of coolant fluid. The radiator hose connects the radiator to the engine, which is how coolant passes to and from the radiator. If there is a leak, the coolant is escaping the hose and leaking out of the vehicle, which doesn't allow the radiator to cool down efficiently. If you notice excess coolant underneath your vehicle around the time it is overheating, this is likely the problem. You should also look at the hoses directly to see if you notice cracks, holes, or general wear.

Check the System for Trapped Air

Another thing to check if you are having trouble with your radiator is the air flow. If air is getting trapped in the cooling system, it will cause the coolant to stop flowing through the hoses between the radiator and engine. This can eventually lead to overheating of your vehicle, or at least to it getting hot from the air being trapped. Make sure air is flowing properly through the cooling system, or ask a repair shop to check this for you.

Inspect the Radiator Fan

The radiator fan might also be the problem. One good way to determine if it is a problem with the radiator fan is if your car's temperature is normal when you are going at a moderate speed, but overheats when you idle or start to slow down. This is because the fan is no longer working when you step on the brake, but the fan speeds up as your car speeds up. You need to have the fan repaired or replaced if this is the case.

If you need to replace any parts of your car while troubleshooting your radiator, talk to a local mechanic to get help with finding cheap car parts.