8001 Minnetonka Blvd.


Mon-Thu: 7am -6pm
Friday: 7am – 5pm

6407 West Lake Street


Mon-Thu: 7am -6pm
Friday: 7am – 5pm

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Common Radiator Issues

by | Jan 15, 2015 | Car Radiator, General Car Maintenance, Vehicle Safety Inspections

Radiator repairs are one of the malfunctions that you may have to deal with as a driver. Since the nature of the heat and pressure that is contained within the cooling system, these types of problems are what we associate with the stereotypical cloud of steam coming from under a disabled vehicle’s open hood. The radiator is obviously the most well known part of the cooling system, but it is frequently not the culprit when it comes to a malfunction. Make sure to bring the vehicle in, and we can inspect it for any issues that the radiator might have.


Parts that can Cause Issues

The thermostat is the most common culprit when a vehicle overheats. The thermostat is not actually part of the radiator itself, but a type of valve that controls how much coolant can flow into and out of the radiator. This helps keep the engine at optimum operating temperature. When the thermostat fails, the vehicle begins to overheat very quickly. Another part to inspect is the radiator hoses. The hoses link the radiator to the engine and allow coolant to flow between the two. Radiator hoses are considered to be a wear component, which means that they should be replaced periodically, whether they are working well or not.

How the Radiator Works

The main function of the radiator is to dissipate the excess heat generated by the engine as it burns fuel. It functions as a component of the larger cooling system. As engine coolant moves through the radiator, it goes through a few simple processes. The water pump produces a flow of coolant that runs in a specific direction into and out of the radiator. Once the flow of engine coolant moves past the thermostat, it enters the radiator through the upper hose. When the coolant enters the first tank, it flows into tiny passages that connect the two tanks. These small passages are connected to rows of fine metal fins, which are what give the radiator its distinct ribbed appearance. This process keeps heat from building up in your engine, preventing overheating. Once the engine coolant has moved through the cooling passages, it is collected in another tank on the other side of the radiator that stores the coolant until it is taken into the outlet hose. The radiator’s outlet hose connects the radiator to the water pump and it supplies the low-temperature coolant to the engine as needed. The outlet hose is subjected to suction force from the water pump, so it is usually re-enforced with a spring that keeps it from collapsing and blocking the flow of coolant.

If the Vehicle Overheats Constantly

If you notice that your vehicle is overheating constantly, make sure to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. This is important because if you vehicle starts to overheat, it could be doing more damage than you might realize. If it is ignored, it may cost you more time, money, and stress in the long run. It can also help to keep your vehicle lasting as long as possible.