How to Keep Your Car Radiator Happy and Healthy

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used cars zambia

The humble car radiator is such an essential yet overlooked part of the car. It is quite common to see a car stuck on the road, smoke billowing out from under the hood. Maybe you have been in this position or someone you know that you had to bail out. Regardless, it is not a situation anyone wants to find themselves in.

Radiator health is essential, and if not repaired at the first sign of trouble can lead to a lot of frustration and costly repairs. However, there is a reason why a lot of mechanics will tell you that keeping your car radiator healthy and happily working results in your happiness by the simple avoidance of costly repair bills.

Car radiator maintenance is even more important if you’re one of the people looking to buy or own used cars Zambia has to offer in its automotive market.

But before we get to the tips to keep your car radiator healthy and happy, let’s take a look at what function does a radiator serve.

What Does A Radiator Do?

The role that radiators play in a car’s functionality is critically important. Their role at its core is to remove the engine’s heat, ensuring that it keeps running smoothly without breaking down. If the radiator does not redirect this heat buildup, it could result in the engine seizing, catching fire, or completely breaking down.

Now, on to the tips to keep your radiator running smoothly and efficiently. And remember, if repair is needed, as happens in used cars Zambia or any other country has to offer, don’t delay it!

Things to Remember to Keep Your Car Radiator Happy

Keep an eye on the coolant levels

Your car has several fluids that keep it running smoothly. Check all of them, especially your coolant. The coolant levels are as important as oil levels. If your vehicle doesn’t have enough of it, the engine will struggle to keep itself cool. The reason behind this is because the cooling system is pressurized. Therefore, the correct amount of pressure cannot be created if the coolant level is at the right level. Thus, the coolant levels should be checked with the same frequency as oil levels are checked.

Keep the cap on tightly

The tip might seem quite simple, but make sure that you tighten the radiator cap properly.  As mentioned in the previous tip, the cooling system is pressurized, and if the cap is not properly secured, it could result in the coolant boiling over and onto everything in your engine bay. The coolant can damage the engine components in this case, and you also run the risk of the engine overheating.

Never open the radiator cap if your vehicle is overheating

This is one of those tips that you should always follow. Never, under any circumstance, open the radiator cap when the engine is hot, especially if it is overheated. Instead, always refill the coolant when the engine and the radiator are cooled down. This is because the temperature variance can create micro-cracks in the radiator walls, resulting in leakage. Additionally, if your engine is overheated, opening the radiator cap can result in serious injury as the coolant is likely to spray because of high pressure and temperature.

Check for leaks and holes in the radiator

If you keep getting low coolant warnings, your radiator may have a leak somewhere. The problem must be corrected promptly; otherwise, the coolant will continue to leak, and the chances of the engine overheating will rise. In addition, patching the radiator in a timely manner can save you from completely replacing it with a  new one which can be costly. However, if the leak is big enough, then it is more feasible to get a new radiator in the long run.

Flushing the radiator

The radiator needs to be fully emptied and cleaned, generally referred to as flushing the radiator.  The frequency varies depending on the model of the car and the intensity of the usage. You should get it done once a year unless you travel long distances regularly. Flushing prevents clogging and particle build-up in the radiator. The excessive build-up adversely affects the performance and health of the radiator.

Use the right type and amount of coolant

Just as every car is different, the same is with coolants. However, when one looks at the details, one finds that coolants have a lot of differences. Therefore, it is preferable to use the manufacturer-recommended coolant in the prescribed quantity. The reason behind this is the difference in engine specifications. For example, the coolant requirement for a hi-performance roadster would be very different from a family station wagon.

Do not mix coolants

Never mix coolants! Different types of coolant must never be mixed together. Each different coolant variant has a different makeup, and they are incompatible with each other. Furthermore, if you do mix them, there is the possibility that the fluid in your radiator will become gelatinous and choke your system to death. If you are unsure, ask your mechanic. A general rule of thumb to avoid this is to never mix colors.

No overloading

The radiator is there to cool your car, but even that has its limits. If you overload the car exceeding the maximum limit, then the cooling system may struggle to cool the engine sufficiently. Experts suggest that the major cause of overheating is usually overloading. Therefore it is recommended that you avoid overloading the car.

Stray Current

This little tip is one of the more obscure maintenance tips to ensure that your radiator is healthy and happy. This tip specifically applies if you’re getting a new installation done for your radiator. So, essentially if you’ve got any electrical work done at the same time or recently, make sure that there is no stray current. It can be checked using a simple voltmeter between the coolant and ground while being careful to avoid touching the metal core or filler neck. If a reading of .05 volts or higher is shown on the voltmeter, this means that a damaging current is present and needs to be rectified. Turn off one accessory to identify the source of the fault or, better yet, have your mechanic do it.

Avoid self-repair

This tip may seem like a no-brainer but avoid attempting to self-repair or jury rig the radiator. Far too many engines have overheated or died because of self-repairs. Yes, the desire to save money is there, but doing self-repairs will result in a lot of frustration and an even bigger repair bill at the mechanics. The last tip from us is don’t self-repair or jury rig things in and around the radiator.

Final Thoughts

Besides all of the above tips, radiators should be checked and maintained regularly to avoid the risk of unexpected last-minute troubles. Additionally, remember that the radiator is not a DIY project and in case of an issue, always get it fixed by a professional. We hope that these tips will help keep your radiator healthy and happily doing its job.

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