If you've ever been stranded by the side of the road with an overheated engine, your radiator may be to blame. To put it more clearly, however, your inattention to detail may be the root cause as, over time, a radiator can deteriorate unless it is correctly serviced. What can cause this type of deterioration, and how can it be avoided in the future?
Temperature and Pressure
Your car's radiator has one very important task to perform. It needs to regulate the temperature of the overheated coolant so that it can be returned to the engine and offer more protection. As you may know, an internal combustion engine can generate an enormous amount of heat during operation and will quickly fail unless it is adequately cooled. To achieve this, a myriad of small chambers are cast into an engine block to distribute the coolant. All of these chambers are linked to the radiator by rubber hoses and metal pipes.
As time goes by, tiny flakes of metal will naturally fall away from the walls of each chamber. Microscopic flakes of rubber will fall away from the inside of each rubber pipe as well. All of these impurities will be carried along with the coolant and will eventually start to accumulate inside the radiator.
Congestion and Sedimentation
The radiator itself is made from a matrix of tiny pipes and fins. These are purposefully small so that the windflow is able to cool the liquid as it moves through. However, as these pipes are so narrow, the sediment can build up and, if left unchecked, can cause a failure. Eventually, the interior of the radiator will begin to corrode, and at this stage, a leak is inevitable.
Effecting a Repair
It may be possible to repair the outer matrix of the radiator, but this is a job for a specialised technician. At the very least, the radiator will need to be flushed out a couple of times to get rid of any sedimentation. Once this is done, the expert can tell you whether it can be salvaged or not.
Best Practice to Avoid a Repeat
In the future, schedule a service visit at the recommended interval and make sure that the radiator is flushed and repaired at that time. If you do this, you should be able to avoid a similar breakdown with all the inconvenience and cost that it may bring.
To learn more, contact a shop that offers car radiator repairs.