I’m sure you’ve seen this common roadside occurrence—a car sits on the side of the road with the hood up, a geyser of steam bellowing from the engine—we all have. It appears as if another car has overheated and hopefully that is the only thing that has happened.
A car engine is an extremely precise mechanical piece of equipment. In order for a car to operate properly, it will need a few things. It needs gas, ignition, air and water. If you take away just one of these items, the car will stop working.
If your car runs out of gas, it will stop running. If your car can’t ignite, it will not be able to start. If your car does not have the proper airflow, it will run very poorly or not at all. If your car has no water, it will overheat. Some of these problems are temporary but others can cause permanent irreversible damage.
There are a lot of things going on at once that make your vehicle do everything that it does. If one of them stops working properly, the whole vehicle can malfunction. This article will take a closer look at one very important piece to the automotive puzzle, the radiator.
What Does a Radiator Do?
A radiator is a small reservoir or tank that is located under the hood. It is filled with a special fluid aptly named radiator fluid. When cars were first created, water was used in radiators, but the heat from the car caused the water to evaporate too quickly. Radiator fluid fixes this problem.
It is the radiator’s job to keep the engine cool. The engine will still be hot to the touch, but the radiator will help keep the engine running within normal operating range. It does this by channeling the radiator fluid to the engine. The radiator fluid does two things at once. When it enters one side of the engine, it brings cooler temperatures to the engine. As it travels through the engine, it will absorb some of the heat from the engine. These two processes help keep the engine cool.
When the radiator fluid exits the other side of the engine, it will carry the heat out and away from the engine. The radiator fluid enters the opposite side of the radiator. Inside the radiator are small chambers that are filled with aluminum fins. These small chambers and aluminum fins help cool the radiator fluid down. Some vehicles have an external fan that helps cool the radiator fluid even faster. This cycle happens the entire time the vehicle is running.
What Should You Do If Your Radiator Breaks?
The first priority is getting the radiator repaired. You can have a mechanic do it or you may be able to do it yourself. Either way, it is going to take a replacement radiator. To save time and money mechanics and do-it-yourselfers sometimes buy auto parts at Partsgeek.com and so can you.
If your vehicle does overheat and you continue to drive it, you will destroy it. Driving a car that is overheating can cause very serious damage that could cost thousands of dollars to fix.
Repair It Immediately!
Replacing a radiator is not a job for a novice. Replacing the radiator is not that difficult, but depending on the vehicle, it can be very difficult just being able to get to it. If you have had some prior experience tinkering with cars and you feel confident with your mechanical abilities, go for it. You can save a bundle handling this repair on your own.
The first thing to do is locate a replacement radiator. You will have no problem finding plenty of discount auto parts online. Purchasing your replacement radiator online can save you quite a bit of money as well.
It makes no difference if you decide to pay a mechanic or do the job yourself. What is most important is getting the radiator replaced as soon as you notice there is a problem.
About the Author: Jack Rogers is a contributing author who has spent most of his life under the hood of a car. He owns and operates three automotive repair shops. He is currently researching locations for his fourth repair shop.