Symptoms Of A Bad Radiator : Parts, Functions & Replacement Cost


The radiator is a vital component in maintaining a normal vehicle engine temperature. But sometimes the radiator gets leaked or clogged due to some reason, due to which the vehicle engine starts facing the problem of overheating.

Through this article, we will provide detailed information about radiators in vehicles. Such as the symptoms of a bad radiator and the replacement cost.

What Is A Radiator?

The radiator is an important part of the engine’s cooling system in vehicles, keeping the temperature of the internal combustion engine normal and stable. In vehicles, the radiator is installed towards the front of the engine, which is made of aluminum and has many fine tubes connected to each other in the middle.

Radiator fins cool a mixture of coolant or water by circulating it. A manual or automatic electric fan is mounted in front of the radiator, which blows air over the radiator when the engine is hot. The main intake coolant pipe and output coolant pipe are connected to the radiator, due to which the engine does not overheat through the cooling process of the radiator and the temperature remains normal and stable even when the engine runs for a long time.

Symptoms Of A Bad Radiator

The main symptom of a bad radiator is engine overheating. Additional symptoms may include a high temperature gauge, coolant leaking from the radiator, extremely hot hose pipes, or discoloration of the coolant.

Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of a bad radiator so you don’t confuse it with another problem with your engine’s cooling system.

1. Engine Overheat Issue


In the internal combustion engine of vehicles, the temperature rises due to the ignition of the fuel mixture and the friction of the internal parts. The functioning of the radiator keeps the temperature normal and constant by absorbing the heat of the engine. But if the radiator of your vehicle is clogged or broken,

Then the engine temperature of your vehicle starts rising; if your vehicle’s radiator is malfunctioning, then your vehicle’s engine may overheat and when this happens, you can see steam or smoke coming out of the engine, due to which the internal parts of the engine are damaged and the engine stops completely.

2. High Temperature Gauge


If the temperature gauge reading is higher than normal, it means that the car coolant is overheating. A failed or clogged vehicle’s radiator will cause your vehicle’s temperature gauge to show a higher than normal temperature reading. Because the radiator system of your vehicle is fails.

Then the engine temperature of your vehicle starts rising rapidly, which is a sign of engine overheating. because the functioning of the radiator of your vehicle is getting obstructed in one way or another. Due to this, the flow of coolant is obstructed and cannot absorb the heat of the engine and the engine temperature is increasing. Hence, due to a bad radiator, the temperature gauge of your vehicle starts showing a higher rating than the normal rate.

3. Radiator Leaking Coolant


A bad or clogged radiator starts showing coolant leakage from your vehicle. This is the main sign of a failing or blocked radiator in the vehicle. Coolant leakage can occur due to a blocked radiator, a burst house water hose pipe, a loose hose pipe clip, a burst water pump gasket or a damaged radiator cap.

If the leakage of coolant from the radiator is more and for a long time, and you keep ignoring it. So at one point in time, the engine of your vehicle may seize due to overheating. That’s why it is imperative to timely check for leaks in your vehicle’s cooling system.

4. Extremely Hot Radiator Hose Pipe

radiator hose pipe overheat

If your vehicle has a clogged or faulty radiator cooling assembly, the radiator hoses may feel much hotter to the touch than normal after the engine is started. The radiator hose pipe carries hot coolant from the engine to the radiator and transfers cold coolant from the radiator to the engine.

But a blocked or broken radiator blocks the flow of coolant. Due to this, the temperature of the hot coolant fluid coming from the engine starts rising. because of which the radiator hose pipe feels extremely hot when touched by hand.

5. Coolant Color Change

Coolant corrosion

The color of the coolant used in vehicles is bright green. But due to not changing the coolant for a long time or to corrosion accumulating in the radiator, the color of the coolant turns brown. Such coolant can block your vehicle’s radiator.

A change in the colour of the coolant can also be a major symptom of a clogged or faulty radiator. When this happens, it is imperative to clean the radiator and replace it with new coolant.

How Does The Radiator Work?

Radiators are often used in internal combustion engines. The coolant is also used in the radiator. When any engine with an internal combustion chamber is started, the fuel mixture in the internal combustion chamber of the engine ignites, causing the temperature of the engine to increase.

Also, due to the friction between the engine parts, the temperature also increases, causing the engine to overheat. A radiator is used to protect the engine from overheating. The radiator and coolant keep the temperature normal by absorbing the heat of the engine.

When the engine warms up, the coolant also starts to heat up. The water pump turns on the flow of coolant as soon as the engine starts, due to which the hot fluid reaches the radiator. The coolant circulates in the radiator, passing through fine tubes. A fan is installed in front of the radiator, which blows air over it.

which the hot fluid gets cooled due to expansion and the air being blown by the fan, and the coolant is transferred from the radiator to the engine. thereby absorbing the heat of the engine and keeping the engine temperature normal. The thermostat valve also plays an important role in the operation of the radiator. The thermostat valve opens when the coolant is hot. Due to this, the flow of engine coolant runs continuously.

Parts Of Radiator

Several parts are used to enable the radiator to function. These parts of the radiator are as follows

1. Radiator Core

The core is an important part of a radiator. The types of radiators are classified on the basis of the construction of the core. like a one-core radiator, a two-core radiator, or a three-core radiator. The radiator core consists of fine metal fins. in which the hot fluid circulates and cools down. Air also flows through the thin fins of the radiator core.

2. Coolant Fluid

Coolant is a major part of the radiator assembly. Coolant absorbs engine heat. Without coolant fluid, the radiator will fail to function. The hot coolant coming from the engine is cooled in the radiator and then sent back to the engine. Due to this, the temperature of the engine remains constant and normal. It is an important component of the engine’s cooling process.

3. Thermostat Valve

The thermostat valve is also a key part of the cooling assembly of any internal combustion engine. The thermostat valve monitors the temperature of the coolant and this valve opens when the coolant gets hot, causing coolant to flow through the entire cooling assembly of the engine. The thermostat valve helps the engine reach operating temperature. The thermostat valve plays a key role in operating the cabin heater system of a vehicle.

4. Radiator Pressure Cap

The coolant is always under pressure in the radiator when it’s hot, and the radiator cap keeps the coolant from overheating without boiling it, due to which the coolant is efficient in keeping the engine temperature normal. The radiator cap lifts up at a certain point, due to which the coolant flows well inside the radiator.

5. Coolant Reservoir Tanks

Often the coolant reserve tank is made of plastic and is mounted on the side or in the radiator head, just above the level of the radiator. This tank is connected to the radiator by a rubber pipe. The railway coolant tank circulates hot coolant from the engine to the radiator and external engine parts.

How To Fix A Radiator Leak

To repair a radiator, you will need to examine the part of the radiator system that is leaking.

  • If the radiator core leaks, you will have to go out and repair it.
  • To repair a radiator core leak, you must first drain all of the coolant fluid out of the engine when it is cold.
  • After this, open the fitting of the radiator and remove the hose pipe and take it out.
  • Next, close the lower hose connection to the radiator.
  • After this, you either fill the radiator with fluid through the top or fill it with air.
  • You will find the leakage of the radiator.
  • If there is a leak between the radiator fluid and the core, then you tighten the clips on the radiator tank.
  • If the fins of the radiator core are leaking, then you have to block the leakage of the radiator core by welding the radiator with a soldering iron, gas welding the radiator by a welding mechanic.
  • After this process, double check the leakage of the radiator. Radiator leak fix but you can fit it in the vehicle.
  • In this way, you can repair the radiator of the vehicle.

Other Coolant Leakage Issue

  • Check all connections and packings in the coolant system.
  • Check the radiator hose pipe. Replace hoses or tighten clamps at the ends if coolant leaks.
  • Check for leaks in the thermostat assembly, and if there is one, open it and re-tighten by inserting a new packing or gasket.
  • Check the gasket on the water pump. If the water pump gasket is leaking, replace it with a new one.
  • Check the radiator cap or coolant reservoir tank cap. If the cap is loose, replace it with a new one.

Radiator Replacement Cost

The replacement cost of a radiator depends on the model, size and design of the radiator and also depends on the model of the vehicle.

Radiator replacement can cost between $500 and $1000 in typical cars. This is the replacement cost of the radiator, including the labor cost of the mechanic. Taxes and fees are not included in this estimated cost.

And along with the radiator of your vehicle, other parts also need to be replaced. You may then have to pay extra for spare parts for the radiator. You will need to pay extra for new antifreeze (coolant) after the replacement of the new radiator.

A typical new car radiator can cost between $300 and $600 and the labor cost of having a mechanic replace a new radiator can be between $200 and $400.

Radiator replacement costs may vary depending on the location and experience of the mechanic. If you have the radiator replaced by an independent mechanic rather than a certified garage mechanic, then this cost can be reduced.


Q. What is the symbol of car overheating?

The “engine overheating” symbol may vary from vehicle to vehicle. Typically, vehicles will see a thermometer mark in the cluster meter, an engine temperature warning light, or the word “TEMP” displayed as a warning when the engine overheats. These signs may bling or remain lit continuously.

Q. How do you know if your car’s radiator is bad?

There are a variety of symptoms that you may experience when you have a bad radiator.

  • Engine overheating
  • Leaking coolant
  • Coolant discoloration
  • Radiator hose pipe overheating or swelling
  • Steam coming out of the radiator cap

Q. Will the car start if the radiator is bad?

If you drive your car with a bad radiator, then, after some time, the engine of your car starts overheating, due to which the engine may overheat and the engine can be completely damaged. Then your car won’t start.

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