How Radiators Work

And Why they Fail

The radiator is one of the least understood parts of a vehicle, but it’s extremely important. It is a type of heat exchanger that is responsible for transferring heat and cooling down internal combustion engines. When it works properly you don’t even notice it. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong with the radiator, the results are often disastrous (and expensive to fix). To avoid being stuck on the side of the road in Murray with a smoking radiator, here’s what you should know about how these important vehicle components work and fail, and when you should receive radiator repair.

How They Work

Most modern-day cars have radiators made from aluminum. They have both fins and tubes. Coolant designed to keep the Engine from overheating flows through the tubes, while the fins take the heat from the tubes and transfer it to the flowing air in the radiator.
Sometimes, the tubes have a turbulator inside them, which is a type of fin that increases the turbulence of the fluid that goes through the tubes. If the fluid within the tube cools down rapidly, the radiator transfers less heat. On the flip side, when there is greater turbulence within the tube, it keeps the temperature up so more heat can be transferred.

Most radiators have a tank with a transmission cooler on either side. The transmission cooler exchanges heat with the coolant located within the radiator. As long as all parts of the system function properly, there should be no problems.

Common Radiator Problems

There are a variety of problems that can plague your radiator and cause it to stop functioning the way it should. Here are a few:

  • Radiator hose leaks
  • Radiator leaks
  • Failed thermostat
  • Air inside the car cooling system
  • Obstruction inside the cooling system
  • Radiator fan failure
  • Water pump failure

All of these issues can cause serious problems. However, if you catch the issue early and have it repaired right away, you may be able to avoid expensive repairs and dangerous situations on the road. A few common signs of a failing radiator include consistently overheating Engine, low coolant levels due to your vehicle leaking coolant, and/or a buildup of sludge in the radiator.

Schedule Your Radiator Repair

Harlan Automotive in Murray would love to take care of your car, including its radiator. If you need radiator repair, call us today or fill out our online scheduling form.

Written by Harlan Automotive

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