A corroded radiator (caused by rust) can lead to a host of other problems. While not usually an issue for new car owners (the radiator should be covered under warranty), those with older models should be aware of the radiator’s regular maintenance needs. To avoid a rusted and damaged radiator, follow these precautions.
Have a Radiator Flush
If your radiator has passed its warranty period, a radiator flush once a year can keep this component clean and high-functioning. You can perform this task at home with only a few simple steps.
First, remove the radiator fill cap (and reservoir cap, if applicable) and drain the old coolant. Then use a commercial radiator flushing product with a mixture of water (per the directions on the product label). Replace the cap and let the engine run for about 10 minutes before draining the product and refilling with coolant. Depending on the type of antifreeze, it may or may not need to be diluted. Make sure to read labels and add distilled water, if needed. Next, let your engine run for about 10 more minutes to get rid of any excess air bubbles.
This process can also be easily performed by a licensed mechanic for little cost (usually less than $100).
Use High-Quality Coolant
An ideal mix of coolant and water keeps the radiator primed for operation. For the water, using distilled instead of tap helps prevent rust and debris build-up, since distilled water has fewer contaminants. In addition, when the water evaporates under the engine’s heated components, fewer harmful elements will accumulate to promote leaks or other damage.
Coolant helps lubricate aluminum, adding another layer of protection. Most car models need a 50/50 ratio of distilled water and coolant but consult the owner’s manual for your model’s best practices.
Check Often for Leaks
A regular peek under the hood can prevent minor leaks from becoming major. Remember, as a sealed engine component, excessive consumption of fluid indicates a radiator leak. If there are no obvious signs of a leak, take a close look along the core plugs (on the side of the cylinder block) and inspect hoses for cracks or tears. You should also check the housing gasket and thermostat for signs of damage.
If you suspect a leak, it should be timely corrected to prevent further cost and damage.
For all your vehicle’s maintenance and repair needs, call MMW Repair at 770-214-4688 and schedule an appointment today!