Top 5 Reasons An Automotive Radiator Fails

Why Your Car is Overheating

As your vehicle gets older you may find that it runs hotter over time. This can eventually cause overheating of the engine and can be caused by a number of things. We decided to give you the top reasons why your radiator isn’t cooling your car effectively any longer.

1. Rust in Radiator

Most automotive engines have a steel or iron engine block that over time can form rust in the cooling ports. This rust will eventually come loose and mix with the coolant in your engine and radiator. While the ports in the engine are large enough to pass these rust particles the tubes in the radiator are not. Over time the radiator passages could be plugged one by one and the vehicle will eventually begin to overheat. We suggest regularly flushing your cooling system to try and force any rust or debris out of the engine and radiator.

2. Radiator Leaking

A leaking radiator can cause overheating because it will slowly loose the coolant in the system and the engine can no longer be cooled by the radiator. This could be caused by a number of reasons but usually it is because of a solder or epoxy joint failure in the radiator. If you begin to see small drops of coolant on the ground or wet spots on around the edges of the radiator core (finned areas) you may have a problem with the way the seams were bonded in the radiator. We suggest having the radiator repaired by a professional or replacing the radiator with a high-efficiency aluminum radiator.

3. Malfunctioning Engine Thermostat

The thermostat inside of your engine helps to regulate the flow of the coolant in the engine to keep it at an optimal temperature. It blocks the coolant from flowing to the radiator until it reaches operating temperature and then it will let the coolant flow through the radiator. When a thermostat goes bad it will stay fully or partially closed and block the coolant from flowing through the radiator. If your vehicle begins to overheat quickly after only running a few minutes and the coolant system is full; you may have a faulty thermostat. Carefully put your hand on the tanks of the radiator and feel if they are hot. If the engine is running hot or is operating temperature and the tanks are only warm or cold then your coolant isn’t circulating and there could be a thermostat issue.

4. Radiator Too Small

If you’re building a custom or performance based vehicle you may have put a larger or higher horsepower engine in the vehicle than what came with it. This means the original radiator might be undersized or inadequate for the engine you now have in the vehicle. If your engine overheats when accelerating or spirited driving you may want to look into upgrading your radiator with a tri-flow or aluminum radiator.

5. Faulty Water Pump

The water pump in your engine is what actually circulates the coolant or water in your cooling system. If the water pump fails it will slow it’s flow or completely stop circulating. We’ve seen the propellers on older water pumps break or separate from the water pump hub during higher RPM’s. If you engine overheats once you’re moving or accelerating the water pump could be going bad. Also if you see excessive weeping from the water pump the internal seals may have gone bad and you will lose coolant also causing overheating.

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