281 East Main Street
Meriden, CT 06450
(203) 237-4311

How to Tell if Your Radiator Is Struggling September 14, 2020

Meriden, New Haven County
How to Tell if Your Radiator Is Struggling, ,

Your car’s engine is a powerful machine, and while it’s running, it generates a lot of heat. The vehicle relies on a coolant system to dissipate this heat, and the radiator is at the heart of this system. To help you recognize when your radiator is failing, learn about a few common issues with this helpful guide.

4 Common Signs of Radiator Failure

1. Coolant Leaks

Coolant is pumped through the engine, where it collects heat from the moving components. Then, the coolant enters the radiator, where the heat is allowed to dissipate, or radiate, which gives this part its name.

If coolant escapes from this closed loop, the engine will underperform, and the radiator can fail. If coolant is leaking, you will see a bright red, yellow, or green fluid puddling underneath your car.

2. Discolored Coolant

radiatorUnlike oil, coolant should remain clean, even after it’s been circulating for a while. However, if the radiator is in poor condition, the coolant can take on a sludgy consistency and rusted color.

If the fluid looks thick and is a dark brown or red color when you check the coolant, your radiator needs professional attention.

3. Overheating

If the temperature gauge starts creeping up or you notice steam or smoke coming from under the hood, the engine is likely overheating. When this happens, pull over immediately and let the engine cool.

If the vehicle is overheating, it likely means the radiator isn’t doing its job. An engine that’s allowed to overheat repeatedly is at risk of permanent damage to the pistons and engine block.

4. Lukewarm Heating

Your car’s cabin heater is designed to take advantage of the heat generated in the engine by passing air over the hot coolant as it exits the block. If you’ve noticed that your heater is struggling to warm your vehicle, your coolant may be low and in need of a top off.


If your radiator exhibits any of the above issues, contact Safe Auto Service in Meriden, CT. For more than 35 years, this auto repair shop has provided drivers throughout Wallingford, Middletown, Cheshire, Middlefield, Berlin, Southington, and Durham with routine upkeep and repairs, including oil changes, tire rotations, and brake pad replacements. All the work is backed by a one year, 12,000-mile warranty, and all the technicians are ASE-certified. Learn more online or call (203) 237-4311 to schedule service.

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