Understanding the inner workings of your vehicle’s radiator can help when it’s time for a radiator flush.
Many car owners are unfamiliar with the inner workings of their vehicle, and the radiator is no different. For this reason, when a radiator flush is needed, car owners may be unaware of the signs or even how to go about fixing the problem.
Here, we’ll start at the basics and help you understand both what a radiator flush is all about and why your car needs one every once in awhile.
Your Car’s Radiator and Cooling System
Burning gasoline produces pressure and heat. Your engine uses that pressure, but it has to get rid of the heat. If the heat builds up, it can damage or even destroy the engine.
Luckily, your engine is designed with a water jacket – special channels for coolant to flow through. When coolant (water mixed with antifreeze) is run through the water jacket, it absorbs the heat and carries it away from the engine. Pushing coolant through the water jacket is what your engine’s water pump is used for.
The coolant must get rid of the heat, too. It accomplishes this through the radiator and, if the weather’s cold, it gives some to the heater core where it warms the air that’s blown into the passenger compartment.
The radiator and heating core work by forcing the hot coolant through many small pipes with fins on them so that the heat can be transferred to the air that blows past them. After the coolant has cooled, it’s run through the water jacket again.
This system typically works really efficiently; however, deposits in the radiator can cause it to fail. The radiator’s slim passages tend to collect deposits. Mineral deposits from the water, broken-down antifreeze and sometimes rust gradually collect in the passages and clog them.
When enough deposits have collected, the radiator stops doing its job, and serious problems start developing.
The Radiator Flush Solution
The solution to this problem is to clean out the radiator periodically, flushing the deposits back out. Special solvents and fluid flow in the opposite direction that it usually does to get the job done.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any signs that your car is ready for a radiator flush. Your car’s owner’s manual will tell you how often you should have the radiator flushed, and it’s wise to follow their recommended schedule.
Can I Do a Radiator Flush at Home?
While it certainly is possible for car owners to flush their own radiators, most parts of the job can turn out to be dangerous. Pressure build-up and coolant can cause more harm than good for someone with minimal experience with a radiator. Not to mention, it’s illegal to dump the used fluid just anywhere and awfully unkind to the environment.
Overall, it’s much easier to let a professional to flush your radiator for you. At Platte City-Airport Chrysler, we have the tools and experience necessary to do so safely.
If your manual says you are due for a radiator flush soon and you live nearby, our service department is happy to help! Call (888) 607-7386 to speak to one of our ASE-certified mechanics.