Is Your Radiator Failing? What To Look For

Although often overlooked, the radiator plays an intricate part in the overall function of a vehicle. A problem in the radiator can quickly spread and cause issues with your vehicle's engine, leading to serious concerns. Being able to recognize a sign that your radiator is failing is key to preventing this type of concern. Here are just some of the things to look for.

Constant Overheating

Is your vehicle constantly overheating, and you can't seem to figure out why? If the answer is yes, it could be that there is an underlying issue with your radiator that is the cause of the problem. As an intricate part of your vehicle's cooling system, the radiator works by facilitating the movement of hot coolant through its metal fins that help lower the coolant's temperature to a normal range.

When the radiator isn't working properly, the coolant isn't cooled and instead cycles back through the vehicle at an elevated temperature, causing the overheating to occur. Ignoring this issue can lead to permanent engine failure.   


As previously stated, the coolant passes through the radiator. However, when the radiator is damaged, the coolant can actually start to leak out as it passes through the system. This is generally the result of a crack in the radiator. Even if the radiator is performing okay otherwise, a coolant leak can also cause a vehicle to overheat.

Unfortunately, you may or may not see a puddle of coolant under your vehicle when parked to signal a leak, as many leaks occur when the vehicle is actually in motion, not when parked. A technician can perform a pressure test to see if this is the problem. If your vehicle has a coolant level monitor, this might also offer an indication.

Sludge Buildup

If you happen to check the condition of the coolant in your radiator occasionally, how it looks can also offer an indication of a radiator issue. First, coolant is meant to be a smooth liquid. However, when the coolant isn't passing through the radiator as it should, a sludge build up can form within it.

As a result, the coolant will take on more of a syrup-like consistency. If you are noticing this, this is an indication that the radiator isn't passing the coolant through properly. It's important not to ignore this, as coolant that is of this consistency won't adequately cool, also increasing the risk of overheating.

Make sure you are keeping a watchful eye open for any signs of a radiator concern. In the event of a problem, make sure you are taking the vehicle to a repair technician at a company like Import Automotive promptly.