Your radiator is an essential cooling device circulating coolant around your vehicle’s engine. Imagine the consequences if your radiator overheated and your car broke down on a busy highway or on a family road trip.
This important component should be checked regularly to avoid mishaps – here are some tips on how to maintain your car’s radiator.
Perform Regular Radiator Checks
Service your car and do regular radiator checks to prevent unnecessary expenses. This helps you maintain correct anti-freeze levels thereby preventing water from either freezing or raising the boiling point of engine coolant in order to prevent over-heating.
A radiator should last your car’s lifetime provided the engine and cooling system have been maintained. If your vehicle overheats, the engine could seize, costing you a fortune to replace.
Never Overload your Car
The heavier the load your vehicle carries, the more your radiator needs to cool your car down. Overloading is a major cause of overheating as the load on the engine is increased. Stick to the manufacturer's recommendations on the maximum load for your car. If you’re tempted to overload, imagine trying to control it at high speed with an engine that has failed due to overheating and a disengaged belt unable to run the power steering pump. Your brakes could also fail in this scenario.
Check and maintain water levels in your radiator every week. Don’t top up your radiator with cold water especially when at operating temperature. Wait for your car to cool down and then, if necessary, add water. Cold water adversely affects aluminium cylinder heads and may even cause them to crack, which costs thousands of rands to repair.
Top up with Engine Coolant
Although South African drivers benefit from a more moderate climate, engine coolant should be replaced every three to five years during services or vehicle checks to control the engine’s temperature.
While engine coolant and antifreeze are similar, engine coolant is the most recent market entrant. It contains additives that prevent the cooling system from freezing, lowers the boiling point and helps by lining and protecting the cooling system. One of these important additives is the lubricating additive that assists the moving parts such as the thermostat to do their job. The lack of this additive will result in the thermostat sticking, or prevent a radiator pressure cap from opening, causing the engine to overheat.
Flush the System
Always ensure the cooling system is properly flushed and cleaned out when replacing an old radiator. Never mix different types of engine coolant when replacing an old radiator and always use good quality coolants.
False economy can cost more than you bargained for. Visit your nearest Supa Quick today to ensure your radiator is in good working order this winter.
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