Your car's radiator is responsible for circulating coolant and dissipating heat. Given how much heat your engine gives out, the radiator needs to be in good repair to prevent overheating. Unfortunately, radiators often start to leak over time, and there are a few reasons why that might happen.
Here are just five common reasons your car's radiator might start to leak.
Over time, your car's radiator — as well as the hoses connected to it — can start to rust. While a little bit of rust might not seem like a huge problem, it can eventually eat far enough into the metal to punch small holes in your radiator. This is a particular problem at connection points, where the metal is a little thinner. Rust is a problem that's only going to get worse, so make sure you take your vehicle in for servicing if you see any on or around your radiator.
2. Broken Cap
Your car's radiator is pressurized, and the radiator cap ensures that it remains so. Pressure is controlled through the cap, which contains two valves for the purpose. Unfortunately, radiator caps can eventually fail due to the intense strain they are put under. When that happens, the pressure will be reduced, the hoses will collapse, and fluids may begin to leak.
3. Water Pump Failure
Your radiator contains a water pump that moves coolant around the vehicle, but its gaskets and valves may break down over time. When that happens, the pressure inside your radiator can change and coolant can start to leak around damaged or worn parts of the pump.
4. Damaged Coolant Reservoir
As you might imagine, the coolant provided by your car's radiator will be pretty hot when it gets back from the engine. When coolant is overheated, it goes to the coolant reservoir to mix with water during the cooling process. However, this process puts a lot of stress on the coolant reservoir itself. They are built to handle that kind of stress, but cracks can still form over time. When they do, coolant will start to leak from the radiator.
5. Brittle Hoses
Hoses are exposed to dirt and chemicals as you drive, so they tend to become brittle with age. They may also simply suffer cracks due to long-term stress. When radiator hoses start to wear, they can also begin to leak coolant. If you notice signs of damage or fraying, bring in your vehicle as soon as possible.
If you think you see any of these signs, it is probably time to bring your vehicle in for car radiator repair from your local auto repair shop.