Your car's radiator has a crucial job: to dissipate the constant barrage of heat generated by the engine. Having your radiator fall down on its job can result in potentially catastrophic an expensive damage to your engine. Keeping these problems at bay requires knowing how to identify them early on so preventative measures can be taken to protect your vehicle. The following talks about five common radiator problems that could leave your vehicle on the roadside.
1. Rust and Corrosion
Although your entire cooling system is always susceptible to rust and corrosion, it's the radiator where the damage is most noticeable. Rust migrating from other parts of your engine cooling system can clog up the coolant channels inside your radiator. A partial or complete blockage can lead to pressure buildup within the rest of the cooling system and cause your engine to overheat.
An aluminum radiator is also vulnerable to electrolysis, a chemical reaction between the coolant and the aluminum surface it constantly interacts with. Engine coolants usually contain corrosion inhibitors to prevent this from happening. Once these inhibitors wear out, however, the resulting electrolysis can lead to pinhole leaks and other corrosion issues.
2. Mineral Deposits
There's a good reason why you shouldn't use tap water in your car's cooling system. Tap water contains a wide variety of minerals that can leave behind deposits within your cooling system. A severe deposit buildup can have some of the same effects on your radiator as rust and corrosion buildup.
3. Brittle Plastic
Today's modern radiators use plastic tanks made from polymers reinforced with nylon and glass for extra strength and durability. These materials allow plastic tanks to withstand high temperatures and intense pressures. However, plastic radiator tanks can still lose their elasticity over time, resulting in a brittle material that's vulnerable to cracks.
4. Blown Seams and Solders
Most radiator manufacturers use solder to connect the heat-dissipating fins to the aluminum tubing within the radiator's core. Seams are also formed between the plastic tank and the aluminum core. A solder failure often results in the loss of cooling fins, which in turn compromises your vehicle's engine cooling. A seam failure can result in coolant loss.
5. Epoxy Failure
Some radiator manufacturers use epoxies to bond certain plastic and metallic components together. Although these epoxies are designed to last for years on end, there's always a possibility they could fail unexpectedly. As with any other radiator malady, an epoxy failure could put your vehicle in jeopardy of overheating.
Contact a company like Quiet Masters Mufflers for more information and assistance.