The Radiator in your vehicle is a major component and is the part that keeps your engine running cool. The hot coolant is circulated through the radiator by the water pump and returned to the engine maintaining a constant temperature and preventing damage that can be caused by overheating. Many radiators also have a separate circuit that cools the transmission oil. A second, smaller radiator located in the air conditioning system provides heat during the winter months.
Puddles of green fluid under the front of the vehicle indicate coolant leakage. Another sign is engine overheating. Most vehicles have a temperature gauge on the dashboard or a warning light that goes on when the engine is overheated. In the worst case, the engine overheats and boils over, causing steam to escape under the hood. At this point, just pull over and call for service.
The main cause of radiator failure is neglecting cooling system maintenance. The antifreeze solution also contains corrosion inhibitors. If the antifreeze is diluted or not changed regularly, corrosion can build up in the radiator which clogs the internal passages. This leads to a lack of circulation and the engine will overheat. Accident damage is another cause of failure. Even a small stone in the road can puncture a radiator, and any front end collision can also damage the radiator.
Modern radiators are made of Aluminum, which is lightweight and also has excellent heat conductivity properties. Aluminum is also a delicate metal and radiators are made of very thin tubes joined to tanks at the top and bottom. Unlike older radiators with brass tubing which could be repaired with solder, new Aluminum radiators are not so easily fixed, so replacement is usually the only option. Used radiators are available, but there is a risk that a used Radiator may be in no better condition than the one already in your vehicle.
Not only do you have the assurance of the Radiator being the correct fit for your car, but the condition is factory fresh, and it will give you years of reliable service. Having your Dealer replace the Radiator will also include a complete Cooling System checkup of the hoses, belts, thermostat, cooling fans, and other components. This type of service is often beyond the scope of the average repair shop.
Summer is coming to a close, and winter is only a few months away. Even if your vehicle is brand new, it is a good idea to have the cooling system checked. Even new hoses can loosen, and leaks can occur in any vehicle. Most manufacturers recommend a coolant fluid exchange service every 30,000 miles. Once before summer, and again before winter. Coolant also provides corrosion protection, and the additives that protect your cooling system can lose their potency over time.