The radiator is one of the principal components of your car’s cooling system. A properly functioning heater will help maintain cooler temperatures that will help keep your engine’s temp in check. If the radiator fails, it will spell disaster for your motor, because it keeps the internal components at a proper operating temperature. So it is important to know what you should do to keep your radiator operating properly. Below are seven tips you need to know to help keep your vital component of your car’s cooling system running smoothly.
Check Your Coolant Levels
As with all the fluids in your wheels, the coolant level is one you should always have checked. Coolant levels are just as important as oil levels. If your vehicle doesn’t have enough coolant, it will struggle to keep your engine cool. It is because the cooling system is a pressurized one, and without proper amounts of fluid it won’t create the same amount of pressure. It is recommended that you should check your coolant the same time you check your oil.
Keep the Cap on Tightly
While it might seem rather simple, having your radiator cap securely tightened is one of the easiest tips to make sure is done. If for any reason you have to fill your coolant, make sure the cap is tightened and secure and is on properly. As mentioned it is a pressurized system, and if the cap isn’t secure, you will end up with coolant boiling over and onto everything in the engine bay. It is not only messy but if you run your vehicle after this has happened your car can potentially run hot. If this happens, you might do damage to the engine itself.
Never, Ever, is Open the Radiator Cap When Your Vehicle Hot
If your coolant level is low, or you get a message in your vehicle saying “low coolant,” you must fill your engine. But before filling it, let your engine temp cool off. You never want to open the radiator cap when it is hot. It can lead to injury. Not only is the coolant at extremely high temps but it also can potentially spray. One of the best things you can do if you are running low on coolant is to wait until overnight and fill the next day before the vehicle has been running.
Have an Annual Flush Done
An annual coolant flush is when your coolant is completely drained, then washed to clean out the system. After which, a fresh new coolant is put into your cooling system; it is an excellent idea for those with high mileage or that do lots of driving. It is recommended that you should at the very least have this service done annually.
Inspect Radiator For Leaks and Holes
If your coolant is running low, it could be possible that your radiator might have a leak or hole. If this problem is not corrected, you could lose most the coolant in your system and overheat the motor. If you notice drips under your vehicle or your radiator has coolant on it, it is probably time to replace the radiator.
Always use the Manufacturer’s Recommended Coolant and Quantity
Not all coolant is the same. When most people look at coolant, they will see that there is a significant difference between the types available. All vehicles are not the same. Always use what the manufacturer recommends and only filled with the quantity that is specified. Antifreeze is available in a 50/50 blend that is pre-diluted, and a regular that you will need to dilute yourself. Whichever you decide make sure that if you get the brand that needs to be diluted that you follow the directions. A 50/50 blend is the easier option because it is a simple fill with the amount you need with no need for additional mixing.
Never Mix Coolants
It is imperative never to mix coolants. If your system is running the orange Dexcool, don’t mix in the Green generic anti-freeze. They have a very different makeup. If you mix them, you could potentially cause the fluid in your cooling system to become almost gelatin like and junk up in the system. If you are unsure about what coolant you need, ask before filling it. The easiest way to avoid problems is not to mix colors.