Car Radiators: How to Determine When it’s Time for Replacement

There are some things that will help you to determine that time has finally come for you to replace the radiator.

If you have used your vehicle for some time, then you are likely to repair the radiator from time to time. There are different radiator problems, some of which you can easily handle by carrying out regular maintenance. However, there comes a time when you need to replace the entire radiator, which is a relatively costly undertaking. There are some things that will help you to determine that time has finally come for you to replace the radiator.
Rust

Rust can affect both the inward and external parts of a radiator. You can determine extreme rusting when you notice metal flakes on the body of the radiator. It is rusting of the internal part that is more dangerous, however, as the outside can be fixed with good anti rust paint products.

The color of the coolant will warn you about internal rusting. The coolant may become too watery and contain some floating debris. In case the coolant starts resembling sludge, it indicates that weathered rust is getting into coolant lines, something that creates a permanent damage.
Leakage

Leakage may result on the radiator valves when there is too much pressure, which often happens when the flow of coolant has been disrupted. Always turn off the ignition and flush out the coolant to check for leakage. Use cold water, which should be pressurized, to flush the empty radiator.

If you notice a leak after replacing the coolant, then there are high chances that any repairs will be short-lived.
Understanding Radiator Cap Pressure Ratings

Although many car owners understand how important the radiators are, relatively few take the radiator cap pressure ratings as seriously as they should. Ensure that you use the right radiator cap to achieve the best performance.
Popular topics

Car Repairs for the Non-Pro
Radiator Flush – Antifreeze Replacement
Car Overheating – Cooling System Checks

Different radiator caps have different ratings. It is therefore important for you to use the right radiator cap for your vehicle since the cooling system will not function as well as it should if the radiator cap pressure does not suffice. The radiator cap is a special type of valve that relieves pressure. Insufficient pressure can lead to overheating of the engine while excessive pressure can result in damages.

You will find the pressure rating on the radiator cap’s top side. Test the cap to determine whether it functions correctly. This is something that can be done at an auto repair shop if you do not have the necessary equipment.

Check the radiator cap when you notice some cooling problems or you buy a used car. Use a radiator cap pressure tester to verify whether the cap is the culprit.

The radiator pressure cap can be purchased at an auto parts store. You can also get the required cap from an online retailer, but you must be very sure of the rating. Check the manual to determine the correct rating for your vehicle.

The radiator cap is a small and cheap part, but this does not mean that you should take it for granted. This simple part can lead to damages requiring a lot of money to fix.
Sealing Large Leaks with Block Radiator Sealant

The most effective way of stopping leaks is through the use of radiator sealant. Sealing relatively larger leaks will be more challenging, however, and you will need to take greater care and be ready for more work. Bear in mind that large leaks often grow even larger with time. If you know how to seal the large leaks, you will be able to stop the expansion for quite some time.

If you want to seal large leaks with block radiator sealant, then you should have the radiator sealant, container for radiator fluid, engine coolant, and socket wrench. Then take the following steps.

Locate the drain plug

The drain plug for the coolant is located beneath the car, usually on the passenger side below the radiator. Remove the plug with the socket wrench after placing the container to collect the fluid. Drain all the radiator fluid and store it somewhere safe.

Prepare the sealant

You should preferably use a heavy duty sealant and follow the instructions given.

Apply the sealant

Apply the sealant as per the instructions too and then let it set in the radiator. Generally, you need to fill the radiator. Remember that it will take relatively longer for the sealant to set in a large leak.

Remove the sealant

Drain the remaining sealant once it has set in the same way you drained the radiator fluid. Then put new fluid into the radiator. Turn on the car and check for any leaks.
Coolant performance

The radiator’s condition will influence the performance of the coolant. If you notice that the vehicle heats up often even after you have replaced the coolant, then there are high chances that the radiator is faulty.