Many of us have been guilty of procrastinating over having our vehicle’s serviced, but one thing you shouldn’t ignore are signs that you need a radiator repair. Unlike a malfunctioning air conditioner, delaying having your radiator repaired can leave you stranded and end up costing you a small fortune. Even a short overheating occurrence can result in a blown head gasket or worse, engine failure.

Signs You Need a Radiator Repair

When a radiator starts to have problems the cooling system ends up struggling to keep the engine temperatures at an acceptable level. Here are a few signs that you need a radiator repair.

Temperature Gauge Reads Hot

If the temperature gauge on the dashboard persistently points to hot, there’s more than likely a problem with your radiator. It could be that you’re low on fluid, or there’s a problem with the thermostat. Either way, you need to have the radiator checked out immediately if the temperature gauge is running hot.


This is one of the most noticeable signs that you need a radiator repair. Overheating is a problem that’s impossible to miss because you’ll see steam billowing out from underneath the hood and the temperature gauge will hit the highest level.

Radiator Discoloration and Rust

If your radiator is leaking, or there’s a leak in a hose that’s connected to the cooling system, fluid ends up spraying or leaking out, landing on hot engine parts. This ends up causing discoloration and can eventually lead to rust.

Low Coolant Levels

It’s important to check all the fluid levels in your vehicle, including coolant levels. Green fluid (sometimes pink or yellow) leaking out under your car is a good sign that you have a coolant leak. Coolant is a fluid that keeps the engine from overheating. If there’s no coolant in the car, it will quickly overheat. If the coolant in your vehicle is low, contact a mechanic so they can determine why.

An Unreasonably High-Temperature Gauge

If your vehicle’s temperature gauge is reading unreasonably high, it is crucial that you seek help immediately. Keep in mind that it may be a simple fix like a hole in a radiator hose.

Radiator Repair Services

There are many radiator repair services that you can take advantage of. Here are the most common ones.

Radiator System Inspection

Repair services usually start with an inspection of the radiator system and a pressure test that uncovers leaks. The diagnostic also includes performing an engine block test, inspecting the radiator hoses, visually looking for coolant leaks, checking the water pump, belts, cooling fan and thermostat.

Radiator Flush

A radiator flush should be performed on a regular basis (refer to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations). Regular radiator flushes prevent the buildup of debris and particles in the cooling system. If you go too long without having it flushed, the debris ends up blocking passageways in the radiator, limiting its ability to keep the engine cool and operating at the appropriate temperatures.

Radiator Replacement

The radiator repair services listed above can fix most problems, however, sometimes a full overhaul or replacement is necessary. Replacing your radiator is an expensive undertaking so it makes sense to have your radiator service regularly, or at a minimum, at the first signs of trouble.

If you think you may need radiator repair, make sure you have a trusted mechanic. Call or schedule an appointment today.

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