If your radiator is failing or has a problem, it can lead to serious engine damage. The radiator is a crucial part of the vehicle's overall cooling system that keeps the engine from overheating. The good news is that it's not too difficult for you to tell when you might have radiator or other cooling system problems. Just look out for these common signs:
1. Car is Overheating
If the car overheats once in an extreme situation (example: driving up a long, steep grade on a hot summer day with your air conditioner blasting), it may be a one-time issue. If it happens more than once or the vehicle never recovers from that first overheating incident, then you likely have a cooling system issue that will require repairs. The longer you put it off, the more your engine will overheat. The more your engine overheats, the more damage is caused inside and then you are looking at thousands of dollars in engine repairs or possibly a complete engine replacement.
2. Radiator Fluid Leak
Radiator coolant (antifreeze) is bright green/yellow in color and easy to spot. If you ever notice any radiator fluid leaks or puddles underneath your car, that is never a good sign. You will want to get your radiator inspected by a professional as soon as possible.
3. Temperature Gauge
There is an engine temperature gauge in every car that is there to let you know when the engine is running hot or cold. If you notice the gauge going up or running at higher temperatures than normal (even if the car is yet to overheat), there could be a cooling system problem that's worth getting looked at before it develops into a serious issue.
4. Low Coolant Level or Burned/Dirty Fluid
You can easily check the coolant level in your radiator, but please do it only when the car is completely cooled down. The radiator cap can be extremely hot and a lot of pressure can be built up inside, so always be extra careful. You should be able to see coolant near the top of the reservoir. If not, you will want to look for any leaks or at least refill with the right mix of coolant and water (many over the counter antifreezes will already have the water mixed in). Also, the fluid should be bright and translucent in color. If it is dark or smells burned, there may be a problem you want to get checked out.
5. Rust Around the Radiator
Another common sign of fluid leaks is rust. If you look at your radiator and see significant rust developing, that likely means there is a leak somewhere that is causing corrosion and deterioration.
If you encounter any of these symptoms, bring your vehicle into San Francisco Automotive Solutions for a proper radiator cooling system inspection. We'll get to the source of the issue and get it fixed properly, so you can get back on the road safely and avoid further concerns of engine overheating.
Call San Francisco Automotive Solutions today at (415) 957-1170 or use our convenient online appointment scheduler to arrange your next shop visit.