There’s nothing that radiates cool like a vehicle radiator that’s helping to keep your engine running at the proper temperature. You don’t have to baby it, but you can’t simply ignore it, either.
Let’s take a quick dive under the hood to let you know what the radiator is doing. It takes the heat your engine produces and moves that heat outside. It’s not an easy job and heat is an engine’s number one enemy. Now that you’re thinking about how nice you want to be to your radiator, we have a couple of ideas on how you can take care of it.
The easiest thing is to pay attention to your vehicle’s temperature gauge. If it gets in the “too hot” or “not hot enough” range, have it checked out soon. Make sure your coolant is kept at the correct level and if you see a trend that you have to add coolant more than a couple of times a year, you might have a leak.
Even if there are no obvious problems, every couple of years or so, consider taking your vehicle in for radiator maintenance. A technician can run a pressure check for leaks and ensure that the thermostat and radiator cap are working correctly. The technician will check that the fans are running as they should so they can move air over the radiator and heat away from the coolant inside.
Ask your service advisor when you should have your radiator flushed and coolant replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. In addition to cooling, coolant has corrosion inhibitors that stop working after a while. Without those corrosion inhibitors, the inside of your radiator can literally start rotting away. Keep in mind that the coolant level must be kept at the manufacturer’s specifications since if those corrosion-preventing chemicals aren’t touching the metal, they’re not preventing corrosion.
Different vehicles use different coolants, so your service facility will make sure yours is getting the correct one. Keep your coolant system happy and one day, maybe you can order up a custom license plate, “RAY-D-8.”