Radiator service is extremely important to the proper functioning of your vehicle. The many moving parts of an engine create friction, which in turn creates heat. The job of the radiator is keeping the engine cooled down. Vehicle radiators cool everything under the hood to help prevent overheating and to keep serious issues from developing. The radiator pumps a mixture of water and antifreeze through the chambers in your engine. This absorbs the excess heat, keeping your engine cool and running efficiently.
Basic Tips for Radiator Maintenance
You don’t want to see your radiator fall into disrepair, of course, but what can you do to stop it from doing so?
Some tips to consider:
- Keep the coolant, or radiator fluid, filled at all times. You should always administer coolant with a 50/50 water mix, or purchase an already watered-down version from your local auto supply store
- Keep the radiator cap on tight; it’s designed to keep the entire coolant chamber pressurized.
- Has your radiator cleaned out a couple of times each year? To save some time and also make it easier to remember, you can have this service performed whenever you take your vehicle in for a tire rotation or oil change
- Have your radiator flushed and filled on an annual basis. This is another service you can have done by your local trusted technician
Why does my car need a coolant flush?
A cooling system flush is modern-day lingo for removing rust, dirt, sludge and dirty coolant from your radiator, water hoses, water pump and the engine’s cooling passages.
Coolant is a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water, and yes, flushing the cooling system is an important part of your car’s preventive maintenance schedule. Why? Because coolant keeps your engine from overheating—which keeps you from sitting by the side of the tollway waiting for a tow truck.
But it is not the same as a radiator drain & fill, or rather, merely draining the radiator will only remove a portion of the dirty fluid. A flush is needed to do the job properly.
Fragments of rust will clog radiator and heater passages, causing your engine to overheat. If coolant is not regularly checked, the rust inhibitors fail, and the cooling system rusts from the inside out.