Common Car Radiator Issues & How to Avoid Them

Your car radiator is generally something that you don’t pay much attention to until things go wrong. It’s a really important part of your car’s cooling system, so when things so wrong, they’re really noticeable! Whether you’ve got steam pouring out of your bonnet or a car that can’t move, it’s really important to understand the common causes of radiator issues and how to identify them.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide to the most common car radiator problems and what you can do to resolve them. Read on to learn more!

Corrosion & Rust

Common Car Radiator Issues: Image of the radiator grille on an Iveco truck.

It’s easy to spot signs of rust on the outside of your car – because you see it every day. The average car owner won’t check under the bonnet on a daily basis, so rust on car radiators is often not spotted until it starts to cause problems. If your car is overheating or you’re noticing that you’re leaking coolant, you should check your radiator for rust and corrosion. This is caused by exposure to moisture and oxygen, meaning that radiators are particularly susceptible to developing this kind of damage – as they’re made from metal.

What Should I Do?: Regularly check the radiator and if you spot any signs of rust, get your car booked in for a check over. It’s also a good idea to check the coolant levels and colour. If the coolant has a brownish tint, this means there’s rust in the cooling system and it will need to be flushed out.

Thermostat & Water Pump Issues

Common Car Radiator Issues: Image of the radiator grille on a Licorne car.

The most common cause of engine overheating issues stems from problems with thermostats. Whilst the thermostat isn’t technically part of the car radiator, it’s an important part of the overall system, controlling the flow of coolant to the radiator. If the flow is uninterrupted, the engine can maintain an optimum temperature. If it’s not working correctly, insufficient amounts of coolant will pass through, leading to overheating.

What Should I Do?: Regularly check the radiator and if you spot any signs of rust, get your car booked in for a check over. It’s also a good idea to check the coolant levels and colour. If the coolant has a brownish tint, this means there’s rust in the cooling system and it will need to be flushed out.

Sludge & Gunk in the System

Common Car Radiator Issues: Image of the radiator grille on a green MG car.

Over time, mineral deposits can accumulate inside radiators. These deposits are thick and gloopy, preventing the flow of coolant to the engine. Sludge can be a cause of radiators overheating, so if your car’s running hot – check for sludge!

What Should I Do: If there’s no evidence of rust, leaks or detached hose but overheating persists, check the inside of your radiator for buildup. Generally, a system flush can resolve this issue.

Leaks

Common Car Radiator Issues: Image of the radiator grille on a white Range Rover.

Generally, when we see a car with a leaky radiator, it’s down to the hoses. In time, hoses can degrade and work loose. When this happens, it can allow coolant to leak out, leading to the system overheating. Leaks can also occur from the radiator itself – though this is a bigger and more serious issue. If you can see bubbles or steam emitting from the car radiator, this is a sure sign of leakage.

What Should I Do?: Check that the hoses are intact on a regular basis. If you spot any signs of damage, get the hoses replaced ASAP. If you see a green or red fluid underneath or near your car, this is a sure sign your radiator is leaking. Before you set off on a journey, check for leaks.

Find Out More!

If you’d like to learn more about car radiator repair services, get your car’s air-con serviced or you’d like to get a new number plate, please call our workshop on 01752 666402 or call in if you’re in the area.

You can find Plymouth Radiators at 55 Holly Court, St. Modwen Road, Parkway Industrial Estate, Plymouth. We’re open from 08:30 until 17:30 Monday to Friday and from 08:30 until 12:00 on Saturday. Don’t forget, you can also follow us on Facebook to get all the latest updates and news!

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Plymouth Radiators is a family-run business, with more than 30 years of experience in car and other vehicle radiator repair and fitting services, quality air con services and the manufacture of new number plates.

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Plymouth Radiators Ltd
55 Holly Court
St Modwen Rd
Parkway Industrial Estate
Plymouth. PL6 8LG

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