Although radiators are based on a simple design and often last for years with few issues, problems can develop occasionally. The radiator’s primary purpose is to cool liquid coolant as it circulates to the engine and keeps the car running cooler. If the radiator is going bad its cooling capacity may be degraded or the radiator could fail completely.

How do I know my radiator is bad?

A faulty radiator typically causes higher operating temperatures in the engine or worse case a complete breakdown caused by overheating. Overheating can also lead to a faulty thermostat or a failing radiator cap. A vehicle that overheats immediately after starting may have electrical issues or problems with the temperature sensor unit, rather than a failing radiator. If the radiator fails or if it becomes cracked, the coolant may begin to leak out. Such leaks are not always easy to detect. To identify the origin of a coolant leak Elder Auto can perform a pressure test. During this our tech will add a color dye to the vehicles coolant and then use a machine to pressurize the cooling system. As the dye leaks out, it leaves a temporary stain that can help identify or rule out a bad radiator.

Radiator Flush:

Coolant is a liquid, usually colored green or yellow and its consistency is that of water. If a radiator goes bad, rust or debris may contaminate the fluid leaving it rusty or oil colored. A rusty radiator may also cause flaking in the coolant which can create sludge that no longer efficiently cools the engine.

Is Coolant/Radiator flush necessary?

You might want to look at it in this way: When we get prescription drugs, in time they lose their potency and effectiveness and we need to discard them by the date on the bottle. Well the chemical additives in the coolant wear out over time. We want to flush coolant before the anti-corrosion additives lose their effectiveness. So yes, we want to flush out the coolant and replace it with new before it is visibly bad due to additive depletion. The usual time frame is two years or 30,000 miles for standard coolant. Flushing and keeping the coolant fresh is always less expensive than repairing a heater core, radiator, or even a head gasket.

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