Your car’s Engine Cooling System has two main functions: to pull heat away from the engine and to maintain the correct operating temperature. The Engine Cooling System circulates coolant, also known as antifreeze, around the components where heat is generated. The heat from those components is transferred into the coolant liquid, which flows through to the radiator to be cooled.
It is important that the cooling system is filled with an appropriate amount of antifreeze/coolant mixed with water. This optimum quantity and mix help reduce the risk of the engine overheating or freezing. Antifreeze/coolant also inhibits the formation of rust and corrosion in the cooling system. For these reasons, Performance Auto recommends regular coolant service for every vehicle to prevent damage to your automobile.
Here at Performance Auto Repair, we like to keep our Montgomery drivers on the road and a radiator issue will put your vehicle in Park faster than most issues! Every liquid-cooled engine on the road has a radiator; without it, the engine would overheat in no time, causing catastrophic engine failure. What you don't want to see is steam coming out from under your hood so proper maintenance is key. While the efficiency of radiators, the materials they’re made out of, and the shape and size of them have changed over time, radiators haven’t actually changed much over the last century or so.
How your radiator works. In concept, a radiator is pretty simple. Coolant circulates throughout the engine, heating up as it makes its way through the system. It moves from the engine into the top of the radiator, which consists of passageways to lengthen the amount of time the coolant is in the radiator and to dissipate heat. Thin metal fins further facilitate the dissipation of heat. Air moving through the radiator, either by the motion of the vehicle or the cooling fan, rapidly drops the temperature of the coolant before it enters the engine again. As a result, the engine stays cool and running smoothly.
What goes wrong? Radiators are pretty durable components - they generally last a long time. However, they do occasionally fail and when they do the first call is here to our shop, Performance Auto Repair. There are multiple reasons why you might suffer a failure and many can be avoided with standard maintenance. Here are some common issues your radiator might have:
- Debris in the system. If rust, sludge, or other contaminants make their way into the coolant system, the radiator is likely to get clogged. Those small passageways are great for cooling liquid but almost act as a collection place for dirt and debris. Sometimes it can be flushed out, sometimes not and that results in a need for a new radiator.
- Damage. Radiators are sensitive to any kind of damage - it isn’t hard to put a hole in one or collapse the cooling passages inside the radiator. Damage can occur during other engine work, front end damage, an object contacting the radiator, or even just from age. They’re always under pressure, so there’s a tendency for radiators to come apart at the seams after many years of use.
- Overheating. Sometimes a bad radiator causes overheating, sometimes overheating causes a bad radiator. Either way, an overheated coolant can put too much pressure on the radiator, causing it to balloon or develop leaks. Fortunately, one of our professional technicians at Performance Auto Repair can diagnose, repair, or replace a radiator, and have you back on the road in no time.
At Performance Auto Repair we will help you prevent the need for any future radiator repairs by providing maintenance. By far, the most important aspect of radiator maintenance is coolant servicing. By having the coolant flushed as recommended by our technicians, you prevent debris from clogging or damaging passageways in the radiator, and ensure the cooling system is up to the task of keeping your engine cool. Since overheating and debris are two of the main causes of radiator failure, a coolant flush goes a long way.
Keeping your thermostat, hoses, and other cooling system components are also crucial. If your engine runs hot, the radiator will fail faster. Watch for leaks and overheating issues, and let one of our technicians at Performance Auto Repair know if there is a problem. When you see fluid under your vehicle and it is not simply water from running the air conditioning then we need to know about it quickly as it is typically a radiator issue.
Components of the Engine Cooling System:
Radiator Radiator cap
Radiator and Coolant
•Inspecting the radiator and the radiator hoses for leaks.
•Evacuating the old antifreeze/coolant.
•Addition of flush chemicals to the radiator to clean the cooling system.
•Refilling the cooling system with the appropriate type and amount of antifreeze/coolant.
During the inspection of the cooling system, if there is a part found that needs to be repaired or replaced, one of the Advanced Level ASE Certified Technicians at Performance Auto Repair will explain the situation and get your approval before any work is done.
Radiator Cap Repair
The radiator cap, also known as a “pressure cap”, controls the pressure in the cooling system. The cap may be mounted on the radiator filler neck or on top of the coolant reservoir. If the radiator cap becomes damaged it will not properly control the pressure and radiator repair may be needed.
Radiator Cap Service Includes:
•Inspecting for antifreeze/coolant leaks around the radiator cap and reservoir seals.
•Inspecting for damage to the radiator cap to filler neck or reservoir seals.
•Inspecting the radiator cap for cracks, seal or thread damage, and tab retention damage.
•Pressure testing the radiator cap to ensure it holds the proper pressure.
•Replacing the radiator cap with a new cap that meets OEM specifications if damage if found.
If you see a warning message to check the coolant or if the temperature gauge moves up into the “hot” or “red” zone that means your cooling system needs to be checked. It is ok to add water or antifreeze yourself, but you should always be cautious.
Remember these four radiator repair precautions
These are the four most important things to remember when it comes to auto radiator repair service:
•Never open the radiator pressure cap when the engine is hot. You could be severely burned.
•Try to get to a service center immediately for radiator repair if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owners manual – it will inform you to only make additions to the coolant overflow bottle.
•Remember the radiator needs a proper mixture of antifreeze and water. If you have to make an emergency addition of water or antifreeze to your cooling system, follow-up with Performance Auto Repair where the necessary corrections can be made to the fluid by testing the mixture with properly calibrated equipment or you may face radiator repair.
•Don’t forget, not all vehicles use the same type of antifreeze. Check your vehicle owner’s manual to make sure you use the right type and grade. Mixing different types of antifreeze or using the incorrect type may void the manufacturer’s warranty on your cooling system and cause you to need radiator repair.
A radiator fluid change is inexpensive compared to radiator repair. Performance Auto Repair has the equipment to change your coolant making sure the proper mixture of antifreeze and water is attained both quickly and inexpensively so you can avoid costly radiator repair.
Get the Auto Radiator Repair Service You Need
With proper maintenance, you can often avoid the need for auto radiator repair service. If you do need radiator inspection or radiator repair, our skilled team is ready to help. We have over 17 years of experience providing our clients with auto services like radiator repair and coolant service, so we know how to get you back on the road fast.
No matter your repair or maintenance needs, we’ve got you covered! For the best service by highly trained technicians, trust Performance Auto Repair in Montgomery. Stop in or call us today for exceptional service by a team that cares about your needs.
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