Radiator Articles Sections > Car Care Help

Radiator Problems? Avoid Replacement Radiator

Back to Radiator Articles


RADIATOR TROUBLESHOOTING: If your vehicle is more than five or six years old, you may notice that your engine is running a little hotter that it used to, you may have radiator problems or be in need of a dreaded radiator repair. You might even find at the end of the day you are in need of a complete radiator replacement. You should expect to start having radiator problems by the time your car enters its sixth year of life. It doesn't matter whether the odometer reads 500 miles or 50,000. The fact is that over time, environmental factors such as humidity, road salts and debris, hard water and chemical reactions will take a toll on the metal from which your radiator is constructed giving you radiator problems. Eventually, corrosion and rust sets in, and/or mineral deposits build up inside the narrow tubing in the core, constricting the flow of coolant. The epoxy that is used to join many seams also typically wears out after four or five years, these are all typical radiator problems, leading to a need of radiator repair.

You can prevent radiator problems by flushing the cooling system at regular intervals. Although your local garage or ""quickie-lube"" repair establishment can do this for you, they'll charge you anywhere from $50 to $75 for their trouble. You can do the same thing with a large pan, a garden hose and about 30 - 40 minutes of your time (see our article on Radiator Repair).

Although a typical radiator works extremely hard during its lifetime and therefore is subject to more than its fair share of wear and tear, not all radiator problems are directly attributable to the radiator or cause the need for a replacement radiator. A faulty thermostat may be causing some of the trouble, as well as a worn water pump. Both of these parts will generally need to be replaced sometime around 50 - 100,000 miles. Other common radiator problems are hoses. These tend to become brittle with age, and eventually crack. Unlike old-time cooling systems, most cars built since the 1950's have a pressurized cooling system. While this makes for more efficient and better cooling of the engine, it also increases stress on the entire system increasing the likelihood of radiator problems.

Some common radiator problems resulting in radiator replacements that occur with age include tube-to-header leaks and blown seams, as well as leaky fittings. Since the radiator is made of several parts that are welded, soldered and epoxied together, any joints are likely to have radiator problems after a time. Related to this is a deterioration of the solder that holds the hundreds of cooling fins to the core tubes, allowing them to come loose causing radiator problems. In fact, because they are relatively thin and delicate, the environment can affect the fins more than any other radiator component causing radiator problems. Other radiator problems can occur because of low-quality ignition wires. Since these can give off electromagnetic energy, stray current can lead to an electrochemical reaction in the radiator tubes, creating a void and preventing coolant circulation.

Typically, radiator problems can be slowed, but not completely stopped. Fortunately, you have friends here at Radiator.com who will always have a replacement for you at 30 - 75% off retail when you are experiencing radiator problems - so call or visit today.

Back to Radiator Articles