How can you tell if your radiator needs to be replaced?
The tell tale sign of a leaking radiator, coolant hose, or water pump is that puddle of greenish fluid sitting under the front end of any parked car. This could spell disaster for the engine if a lack of coolant is flowing through the engine, because as operating temperatures rise the failure rate of sealing systems and internals rises too. The most common reason for leaking coolant is a bad hose; however this isn't always the case. If you have taken a look under the hood of your car and noticed a buildup of white crusty residue on your radiator core or end tanks, then it may need to be replaced. A properly sealed and functioning radiator is key to the health and safety of every (liquid-cooled) car, and any signs of failure or problems should be taken care of quickly. Simply topping off your coolant every time you see that temperature gauge rise might temporarily relieve the symptoms of a bad radiator, but it will do nothing to fix the problem. It will only get worse over time.
Radiators: keeping engines cool for over 100 years.
Liquid-cooling technology found its way into the automotive space early; however it was not made ubiquitous until after WWII, when the demands on engines in military vehicles were so great that air-cooling was no longer adequate. Soon, car and truck engines would be equipped with a water pump and radiator core
(along with a system of hoses and a reservoir) which would be responsible for continuously cooling and recirculating a mixture of water and coolant through the engine block and cylinder head. The radiator core typically sits behind the front grille as a wind catch. Hot coolant enters the water pump at the top and then moves through a series of top-down channels in the radiator. As the wind hits the fins of the radiator, it lowers the temperature of the coolant as it passes through the core and ultimately exits out the bottom and re-enters the engine. The water pump, which is usually driven by the crankshaft and a belt, circulates the coolant and water mixture to keep the system going. On some vehicles, automatic transmission fluid and engine oil are often sent through channels in the radiator to be cooled as well.
It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.
If you are faced with the need to change your radiator, we suggest having a professional do it. However, with all the necessary tools and experience, it can be done by an experienced DIY-er if all safety precautions are observed.
- First and foremost, the engine MUST BE COOL for you to work on your radiator. You will have to relieve the pressure and drain all the coolant, and it cannot be hot while you do this.
- After that, disconnect all the hoses that are attached to the radiator, detach the cooling fan and shroud. If your radiator cools automatic transmission fluid, then remove the transmission cooling lines as well.
- Next, unbolt the radiator from the core support and/or other mounting surface. You can now throw away the old, failed part.
- Finally, reinstall your new radiator and perform all the previous steps in reverse. At the end, you will want to refill the radiator, let the car run, and top it off with more coolant.
Help us help you.
When buying a new radiator online, you have tons of choices. At Car Parts Discount, we offer top quality replacement radiators from aftermarket manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers as well. So whether you are on a budget and need to find the least expensive option or you must absolutely install the OEM radiator and nothing else, we will likely have the part you are looking for at an affordable price and can ship it right away. Choose from dozens of brands for your domestic or import radiator needs, and don't be disappointed.