How to Know if you Have a Clogged Radiator

Just like other components of your vehicle, the radiator can also suffer the consequences of the daily wear and tear. Eventually, debris like ‘black magnetite sludge’ can find its way into the pipes and start clogging it. Keep in mind that the radiator is crucial in ensuring that the cooling system will function smoothly. So, if it gets clogged, the engine may start to overheat, causing problems to your vehicle.

That said, you should pay attention to the condition of your car and look for signs of radiator problems. Keep in mind that some cheap used cars online also have old radiators that may possibly be clogged. Needless to say, you should watch out for the symptoms we’ve listed below.

The Engine Overheats

If your radiator is functioning properly, it should be able to prevent your engine from overheating. So, there is probably something wrong with the engine starts to smoke. So, you should watch the temperature gauge and check if it frequently stays on the hot side. If you notice that the gauge starts pointing to the hot side even when the air conditioner is switched on, then it is possible that your vehicle’s radiator is clogged.

In this case, your car will start to consume more coolant. The radiator gets clogged because of internal deposit buildup, corrosion, and debris that accumulate over time. When this problem occurs, only a small amount of radiator finds its way to the radiator.

The Coolant Starts to Leak

When your car has a clogged radiator, corrosion may start to form on the housing or cooling fins. Consequently, the cooling will start to leak very easily. If you do not repair that sooner, the radiator may suffer damages beyond repair.

There are Damages to the Water Pump

If your radiator and other parts of the cooling system become clogged, you will have a faulty water pump. This problem can prevent the coolant from circulating properly. Eventually, this will lead to coolant leaks that may damage the engine.

There are Damages to the Cylinder Head Gasket

As we’ve mentioned, the coolant will not circulate properly when the radiator is clogged. As such, the engine will start to overheat and the gasket will malfunction. As a result, the coolant will find its way into the engine’s oil compartment, causing all sorts of irreversible problems and damages.

How to Keep your Radiator in Good Condition

When you purchase brand new vehicles or cheap used cars online, it is essential that you follow some car radiator maintenance tips. Here are some ways you can keep your cooling system in good condition:

  1. Secure the radiator cap tightly. Doing this ensures that the pressurization in the radiator is properly maintained. However, you have to remember to touch the cap with proper care. If the engine has been running, it is possible for the cap to be scorching hot. Remember to proceed with caution because there will be pressure behind the cap.
  2. Maintain the proper coolant level. Regularly check your coolant/antifreeze and ensure that it is within the ideal level. You can add a 50/50 coolant-to-water mix, or buy a pre-mixed product from your local auto supply store.
  3. Regularly clean the radiator. Cleaning your radiator should be part of your car maintenance routine.
  4. Flush and fill your coolant every year. You should have your radiator flushed completely and refilled at least once a year. Doing so will maintain its optimal performance.

There are several things you can do to keep your vehicle’s radiator in good condition. However, if you do not have the time, knowledge, and experience to do these things on your own, you can always bring your car to a service center and have professionals handle your routine maintenance.

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