signs of a bad radiator are almost similar to blown head gasket signs. The radiator is the part of the cooling system that ensures the passage, and cooling of coolants when it hot.
If for any reason the radiator stops working or stops doing its work as expected then overheating of the engine will start. When the engine overheats everything inside the engine are at risk including camshaft and bearings.
A blown head gasket is a nightmare every car owner does not want. Well if the radiator is bad and is not taken cared of as quick as possible then it could lead to head gasket issue.
3 quick checks for a bad radiator signs
Always remember that when the radiator malfunctions every other component is at risk. The three main components to inspect are the heater core, water pump, and thermostat.
- Heater core
If you’ve ever seen the heater core, you know it looks like the radiator had a baby. It’s just a tinier version.
Inside, it even works the same as that of the radiator in a car. The main job of a heater core is to produce warm air for your cabin.
When debris gets stuck in the miniature heater core tubes from the faulty radiator, you can’t get heat. This debris and clog will in turn cause the radiator not to function well thereby causing the engine to overheat.
- Water pump
The water pump is a component of the cooling system that is made of plastic. The water pump’s job is to pump and make sure coolant is being circulated into the pathways its needed in the cooling system.
If debris begins to break away in the radiator, the water pump receives damage or abrasions. any blockage or hindrance in the flow of coolant is not good for the cooling system, if coolant flow is disrupted, the water pump may fail completely.
A stuck thermostat is another sign of a bad radiator you will want to check. The thermostat is a component of the cooling system that is situated towards the end of the top radiator hose.
For temperature reading and regulation, the thermostat is fully responsible for this. The thermostat controls temperature of fluids from the radiator hose, a bad thermostat will cause your car to overheat.
When the engine temperature has reached the operating level, thermostat allows coolant to flow to the engine and regulate the heat. As temperatures hit the desired point, it opens to allow cooling system fluid to flow freely.
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Can You Drive with a Radiator Problem?
This question “can you drive with a radiator problem’ is frequently asked by car owners and my answer to them always do no drive with faulty radiator. Except you have some thousand dollars to spend on fixing a head gasket or more problems avoid driving with a faulty radiator.
Many driver underestimate the damage a single fault in the cooling system can cause. The truth is radiator performance directly affects the engine’s performance.
When the radiator does not function the properly, it fails to regulate the engine’s temperature thereby causing the engine to overheat. Overheating leads to serious damage to an engine and can cause the head gasket to fail.
If you notice your car overheating, park and open the bonnet and let the engine cool off before you continue. Towing to the nearest mechanic shop is the second option or should be your next course of action if overheating persists.
How do I fix an unresponsive thermostat?
The thermostat sometimes get stocked when the car is packed for too long and the engine is not being started. When the thermostat is stuck open, the engine temperature drops below normal when driving, especially on the highway in cold weather.
A stuck-open thermostat can also cause lack of heat from the heating system. The Check Engine light may come on too. To fix a stuck thermostat follow the steps below
- Switch of the car and allow it to cold off.
- Make sure the engine completely cold not even warm.
- Preferably you you can do this in the morning.
- Open the bonnet please make sure the engine is totally cold before doing this.
- Locate the thermostat on top of the radiator valve.
- Remove the radiator cap.
- Have someone else start the car for you.
If the thermostat is still unresponsive, make sure the breaker is shut off and remove the cover. If it looks dirty inside, use canned air or a soft artist brush to clean away accumulated grime that may be affecting its functionality. Then look for issues like loose wiring or terminal screws and tighten them up.