Radiator Maintenance Keeps Your Car From Overheating And Breaking Down On The Road

Preventative maintenance is the most important thing you can do for your car whether it is brand new or used. Fixing problems before they turn into malfunctions can save you from being stranded on the road. It will also save you from expensive repairs. Every system on your car as well as the tires needs to be cared for to keep them in top shape. The car's cooling system is no exception because if it becomes worn or damaged, your car can overheat or freeze up. Here are some things to know about maintaining the radiator in your car.

Check The Fluid Level Regularly

You'll want to check the level of coolant in the radiator on a regular basis to make sure it stays full. The level shouldn't drop, so if it does, you'll want to take your car to the shop to find the leak and have it repaired. Checking the level of coolant is easy because you can see it just by looking. There's no need to use a dipstick like when you check the oil. When you take your car to the shop for regular service checks, the mechanic will also check the level of fluid in your radiator to guard against potential problems.

Flush The Fluid Occasionally

Even if your radiator never develops a leak, you'll need to change the fluid on occasion. You can follow the recommendations of the car manufacturer since the guidelines vary according to the model of the car. However, how you drive your car also affects how often you need to change the fluid. If you pull a boat or camper, that puts a strain on the cooling system of your car and may require the fluid to be changed more often.

Your mechanic can test the quality of the fluid to make sure it hasn't degraded and to make sure it is free from contaminants such as rust. If the fluid is no longer high quality, it should be changed even if it is ahead of the manufacturer's timetable.

Get Repairs Quickly

If you notice problems with your car overheating, then you'll want to get repairs right away rather than put it off or serious damage could be done to your vehicle. If you notice a sweet odor in your car or see colored fluid puddles under it after being parked, that's a sign of leaking coolant. If the warning lights on your dash come on, don't ignore them because driving a car that's overheating is dangerous. If you develop a sudden leak in the radiator, you can fill it with water in an emergency so you can get to a mechanic. Don't take the radiator cap off until the engine has cooled down and don't use water as a long-term solution. Coolant is a mixture of half water and half antifreeze, so if you have too much water, the radiator may freeze in the winter.

Sometimes you can spot the cause of a leaky radiator, but other times it won't leak unless the car is running and under pressure. When you suspect problems with your car's cooling system or if the level of coolant falls, even slightly over time, let your mechanic know. By staying on top of radiator and auto maintenance and repairs, you'll stay safer on the road and get a longer life out of your car.