Your radiator is a key part of your engine’s cooling system, and it is essential that it is in full working order at all times. An internal combustion engine burns fuel (such as petrol or diesel) to provide the power to propel the vehicle. This produces heat within the engine. All the moving parts of the engine also cause friction, which also produces more heat. This excess heat needs to be removed from the engine quickly and efficiently, otherwise serious damage can ensue. The radiator, along with various other components such as the water pump, thermostat, fan and coolant make up the cooling system of your car. If things go wrong anywhere within the system, you need to get it looked at quickly by someone who really knows what they are doing. This is where the AutoMend network of maintenance and repair specialists comes in. We have close links with garages and mobile mechanics across the length and breadth of the UK. Whether you are situated in England, or in Wales, Ireland or Scotland, there will be an expert AutoMend mechanic somewhere nearby to come to your aid. Don’t risk damaging your engine by driving with a leaking or faulty radiator, get it fixed by one of our network members and save yourself both trouble and cost.
The radiator is at the heart of the engine cooling system. If it fails, your engine may overheat which can cause internal damage, and can even result in a seized engine. Remedial action as soon as you spot a problem can save you a great deal of hassle and some big bills. If you think your cooling system is not operating properly for any reason, avoid driving your car. AutoMend has a number of mobile mechanics who can come out to your vehicle, or you can get it towed into your nearest AutoMend garage for assessment and repair.
Radiator problems frequently involve a leak of some kind, so if you see a puddle under the front of your car, suspect a leak. Your radiator is in the most vulnerable place, at the front of your vehicle, and although it is shielded by a grille, it can easily be damaged by flying road debris. Corrosion is another big issue. A leak means you are losing coolant – lose too much and the cooling system will be ineffective and you are risking engine damage. Whatever the cause of the leak, as soon as you become aware of it, it needs to be solved either by a radiator replacement, or in some cases a radiator repair.
You can buy products over the counter that claim to stop radiator leaks – they usually consist of a liquid mixture that your pour into the radiator. These sometimes work temporarily, but they are not a total solution. If you find a leak in your radiator, your only real option is to get it checked out and repaired by an expert.
It’s always a good idea to keep a wary eye on your temperature gauge when you’re driving. Most cars reach and stay at a consistent steady temperature under normal conditions. However, if you spot that the gauge is showing a higher temperature, it is a sign that something may be amiss with your cooling system. There are several potential causes of temperature increase, including a radiator leak and coolant loss. Other causes are a failing water pump, or a faulty radiator thermostat, which may have become silted up and is not opening at the correct time. Never ignore an increase in temperature, or you may end up with a costly breakdown at the side of the road.
Steam issuing from your engine compartment is an indicator of a big problem. This means that the coolant has been hot enough to start to boil. There are several causes, including coolant loss due to a leak, a faulty water pump or a stuck thermostat. Whatever the cause, it’s bad news for your engine.
Car engines generate heat while they are operating, and they have several systems built into them to help to reduce that heat. There is an exhaust system, which allows heat to escape along with the waste gases, via the exhaust pipe. There is also the internal lubrication system for the engine parts, which helps to prevent heating from friction. These systems operate all the time the engine is running, but they can’t totally cool the engine. Once the engine hits a certain temperature, the external cooling system needs to start work.
There is a thermostat situated between engine and radiator, which detects the engine temperature. When the temperature reaches a certain point, this thermostat triggers the cooling system. Coolant (usually a mixture of water and antifreeze) which has been held within the radiator is released. This coolant is pumped around the engine through various channels, picking up the heat that has been generated by the engine’s operation. The heated coolant is then pushed back to the radiator, where it is cooled before being pumped around the engine again.
The radiator is effectively a heat exchanger and is usually made up of a series of parallel tubes, each of which has a large number of metal fins attached to it. The radiator is sited at the front of the car, and vents allow outside air to blow over it while the car is in motion. The coolant flows through the tubes, and the large surface area provided by both tubes and fins allows the heat to be transferred to the moving air, thus cooling the coolant liquid. The movement of the outside air is assisted by a fan, which operates when the coolant needs extra cooling. You can usually hear the fan running when you stop your car, as it needs to continue to blow air on the radiator to continue with the cooling process, when the car is motionless.
When your car engine first starts up, it is cold, and the thermostat stays closed, preventing coolant from flowing through the engine. When the engine has been running long enough for the thermostat to open, it allows coolant to flow. So, why do we need a thermostat at all, why not let the coolant flow the whole time?
There is a good reason – your car engine has an optimum operating temperature, which will probably be just under 100 degrees C. If the coolant is flowing all the time while the engine is cold, it will keep the engine cool, and prevent it getting up to optimum temperature quickly. This has an impact on several areas such as performance – the engine does not work as efficiently when it is cold. Another area is engine wear – a cold engine can be subject to more wear than one at optimum temperature. Finally, emissions are higher from a cold engine, and deposits from the combustion process can build up within the engine and exhaust system. In reality, the thermostat, which is an inexpensive part of your cooling system, is essential to the well-being of your engine.
Yes, they do - AutoMend members are multi-skilled and can provide most types of repairs or servicing on all makes and models of vehicle. We are the most convenient way for you to gain access to a huge network of experts, whether you are seeking an emergency repair, a service or an MOT test. We have access to more than 9,000 garages and mobile mechanics that can help you wherever you are across the UK.
Our industry-approved mechanics can assess the problem with your cooling system and recommend the best and most cost-effective approach to putting it right. Maybe you need a new radiator, in which case they could recommend a brand new one, or if it’s suitable for your vehicle, a refurbished unit at a lower price. Maybe it’s your thermostat or your water pump that’s at fault – you can trust them to make the right recommendation for you based on quality and cost.
Contacting an AutoMend garage or mobile mechanic is easy – we ask you to type in your post code, and to select your location. In return, we provide a list of garages and mechanics along with their phone numbers and how far from you they are located. The choice is then yours – you can directly contact one or more of the garages for advice, help or to book your radiator repair. On the other hand, you could request a series of free, online quotes (with no obligation) so that you can do an armchair comparison before getting the job booked in. We are confident you’ll love the quality of service and our attractive prices, so give us a try today.