Your cooling system, including your radiator, is an important part of your vehicle. Without efficient cooling operation, your engine will be likely to overheat, causing significant damage and costly repairs. It is therefore imperative to ensure your radiator and cooling system are performing at their best.

There are many different reasons your vehicle may be overheating or losing water; we recommend you call in to our workshop for a free check to help solve your cooling system problems!

In the meantime, below are some hints to ensure your vehicle runs efficiently.

 

Coolant Loss – Don't ignore any coolant loss, however minor. If you need to regularly top up your radiator, THERE IS A PROBLEM! This could be something minor like a faulty hose clamp, or something more significant which, if not attended to immediately, could cause major engine/transmission damage which can be costly.  Our free, no obligation cooling system check could save you $$$$$


Air Flow – air flow through the radiator is an important part of cooling your engine and electric fan operation will commence when natural air flow is insufficient (i.e. idling/low speed).


Water Flow – hot water runs through your radiator, and the air flow across the core face transfers this heat, thereby cooling the water (heat exchange method); the cooled water then runs through the system, keeping your engine cool. It is therefore important to ensure that the radiator is not internally blocked; even partially blocked radiators will reduce the cooling efficiency of your vehicle.


Thermosats - with today's electronically controlled engine management systems, correct thermostat operation is imperative to optimise fuel economy and prevention of cooling system/cylinder head damage. Some people are inclined to install a lower temperature thermostat , assuming this may solve overheating problems – generally all this does is encourage the onboard computers to push more fuel through the engine to bring the engine up to the designed temperature.

Removing a thermostat completely is also detrimental to your engine as this will allow the coolant to pass through the cooling system at a rapid flow and will not give the radiator a chance to cool the engine water sufficiently, thereby cooling the engine.


Radiator Caps – today's engines run a higher temperature cooling system than older vehicles; therefore a higher pressure radiator cap is fitted to increase the actual boiling point of the coolant. Not all radiator caps are the same; different caps are designed for different pressures. Always use a cap with a pressure rating as recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.


Coolants/Corrosion Inhibitor - never mix different brands of coolants or corrosion inhibitors. Mixing coolants may cause a chemical reaction, in turn block the cooling system or may cause it to become more corrosive on your engine than having no corrosion inhibitor throughout the system. When replacing coolant with a different brand, ensure the whole engine system is flushed through (including the heater) – be mindful that when draining your radiator, coolant could remain within the engine block and heater areas.
Always dispose of used coolants correctly. All used coolants will contain heavy metals irrespective of their claims of being environmentally friendly. North Geelong Radiators have an approved water treatment plant for the specialised treatment and disposal of coolants, reducing the environmental impact.


Cylinder Head failure – Overheating can not only cause cylinder head damage, but cylinder head damage can also cause overheating. If cylinder head/head gasket repairs have been made to your vehicle, ensure that a professional radiator cleanout is performed (this involves removal of the radiator from the vehicle, see "Radiator Cleanout - What's the Difference?") and the cooling system completely flushed to clear any foreign matter from the system.


Copper/Brass vs Aluminium Radiators: Aluminium Radiators are now more popular, however Copper/Brass radiators generally have better heat dissipation than the lighter aluminium models. Aluminium radiators are sometimes not repairable or difficult to repair, where the copper/brass radiators are easily repaired. Aluminium is also subject to acidic corrosion and electrolysis.


Electrolysis – Electrolysis, also known as stray current, is a process which causes an electrical current to pass through a vehicles cooling system fluid. It can cause premature and rapid damage to radiators and will indirectly cause problems with other engine components such as water pumps, thermostat housings, etc. This is more prevalent in aluminium radiators.
This is brought about when one or more items (such as a headlight or cooling fan) develops a problem in its electrical circuitry. This causes an electrical current to seek out an earth path via the radiator core through the engine coolant. Experience tells us that many vehicles tested for electrolysis and chemical corrosion are those that have had recent panel/paint repairs.


Cheaper is not always better! – Some cheaper aftermarket radiators are manufactured overseas and are NOT designed and tested for Australian conditions, and quality control of these products can also be of a lower standard.