Radiator Service, Repair & Flush
If your car is running hot, overheating, or leaking coolant, you probably need radiator repair service. Call the radiator service professionals at My Transmission Experts. We have car cooling system and radiator mechanics available to help keep your car running cool. With locations in Katy, Kingwood, Montgomery, and the Houston Energy Corridor, we have a radiator repair shop near you!
What Does Your Engine’s Cooling System Do?
The internal combustion system in your car generates a lot of heat to make the engine run. This is not the same cooling system as a car HVAC system for cooling the cabin. Without working cooling system this heat can wreak havoc on your car, damaging engine parts. If left unchecked, a catastrophic overheat can do damage to an engine that cannot be repaired, leaving you with the expensive repair and replacement costs!
Even at an idle, your car can create 5 mini explosions each second. The engine cooling system is designed to transfer the heat generated by these explosions away from the engine and into the air. While the radiator is the central hub of this exchange, there are several important components that make up your car’s cooling system.
- Radiator: The radiator houses the liquid coolant used to maintain appropriate engine temperature. It provides access to service technicians to drain, flush and monitor the health of the coolant. It also disburses liquid coolant into the engine as it is drawn by the water pump and re-cools it later.
- Water Pump: Through the use of blades and centrifugal force, the water pump moves liquid coolant into a series of engine passages often referred to as the “water jacket.” The liquid is drawn from the radiator via a hose and returned after making a complete cycle through the engine.
- Radiator Hoses: These connect the radiator to the engine and water pump to allow coolant to flow into and out of the engine block. Overtime, these hoses can become blocked with dirt and grime, making it more difficult for coolant to reach the engine.
- Radiator Cooling Fans: Mounted on the inside or engine-side of the radiator, most vehicles have a pair of fans designed to promote airflow when a vehicle comes to a complete stop or is moving slowly. Air flow through the radiator happens naturally when vehicles are moving at a moderate or high speed. These electric fans are triggered by a sensor and are necessary to lower the temperature of coolant after passing through the water jacket.
- Heater Core: Along with regulating engine temperatures, the cooling system uses a heating core to provide heat for the interior of the vehicle. This auto part looks like a mini radiator and two hoses circulate warm coolant through it to lift the temperature of the air coming into the vehicle.
- Thermostat Replacement: Engines rely on liquid coolant from the thermostat, an auto part that is generally located between the radiator and the engine. Most are approximately two inches in diameter. They regulate the amount of coolant that flows from the radiator and engine. When an engine reaches about 200 degrees, the thermostat opens up the flow of coolant. When an engine is cool, it blocks coolant flow.
Signs Your Radiator Needs Repair or Replacement
The radiator and cooling system tend to be an out-of-sight, out-of-mind item for many vehicle owners. Unless the check engine light comes on or the heat temperature monitor on the dashboard spikes, there seems like no reason to follow up on the radiator and coolant system. However, these are some of the telltale signs that you may need prompt radiator and coolant system repair.
- Leaking Coolant: If you notice signs of coolant on the ground after parking your vehicle, you may have a leaky radiator or hose. This could escalate to an overheat or breakdown.
- Vehicle Overheats: When the temperature gauge tacks up, this indicates that your system is not functioning properly. While some people turn on the internal heat to try and temporarily offset the temperature spike, immediate service is needed.
- Radiator Sludge: Coolant is generally red, yellow or green. But when a radiator has outlived its lifespan, it can rust and corrode internally. This deterioration can change the color of your coolant and create sludge build-up. Thick sludge accumulations can clog and impede the proper function of a coolant system.
- Low Coolant Levels: Car, truck and SUV owners often check the coolant levels by removing the radiator cap while the engine is cool. If the levels are low, this indicates a coolant loss somewhere in the system.
- Bad Thermostat: Inconsistent engine temperature can be linked back to a faulty thermostat in some cases. Although considered only a minor replacement part, thermostats are vital to maintaining engine temperatures. A bad thermostat could cause engine damage.
The best way to prevent any of these symptoms from escalating into a roadside breakdown remains preventative maintenance. If you are currently experiencing any of these warning signs, contact one of our experienced radiator mechanics to help diagnose the issue.
What to do if Your Car Overheats
The heat of the Houston summer coupled with near-constant stop and go traffic make cars in our area more prone to overheating. If you find yourself sitting in traffic and notice your temperature gauge start to climb above safe operating temperature here are the steps you can take to avoid a catastrophic overheat:
- Pull over – If you’re able, pull over and turn the car off. Open the hood, but do not attempt to check the radiator until the engine is completely cool. Depending on the temperature outside and how hot your engine is running, this may take a half hour or more. You must wait until the engine is completely cool before you can add coolant.
- Turn off the AC – If you cannot safely pull over, turn off the AC. While it may be uncomfortable to site in a car without AC in the Houston heat, turning off the AC will decrease the engine’s work load and help it stay within safe operating temperatures. If it is too hot to safely stay in the car with the windows rolled down, skip to step 5.
- Turn on the heater – Engaging the heater allows the engine to transfer warm air from around the engine into the cabin through the AC vents. Again, if the temperature is so high that it is not safe to stay in the car with the heater on and the windows open, skip to step 5.
- Rev the engine – This probably seems counter-intuitive but revving the engine from park or neutral will engage the water pump and speed up the fan, with will increase the amount of coolant and cool air around the engine. This step is most useful if your car is overheating while you’re stuck in traffic.
- Turn off the car – If these steps have failed to get the engine temperature to decrease, find the safest place to pull over and turn the engine off. Raise the hood to allow more cool air around the engine, but DO NOT attempt to open the radiator until the engine has cooled down completely. Depending on the temperature, you may need to wait an hour or more before it is safe to add coolant. The engine needs to be completely cool.
- Call a mechanic – Even if you were able to get the temperature back into the safe range, it is important to have your cooling system serviced by a professional as soon as possible. The cooling system isn’t functioning properly and it’s just a matter of time, temperature, and traffic before your car overheats again. A catastrophic overheat can cause irreparable damage to an engine, making it necessary to replace or rebuild the engine. Save yourself that expense and call the experts at My Transmission Experts today!
Radiator Service and Repair
Once it fails, modern radiators often cannot be repaired and must be replaced. Newer radiators are made of aluminum and plastic and most manufacturers do not make replacement parts. The good news is that modern radiator replacement is more economical than replacing radiators made out of more durable metals. Still, you want to avoid replacing the radiator if you can and the best way to do that is through
Over time, engine coolant can degrade and become clogged with particulate matter that can interfere with the cooling system’s ability to manage engine temperatures. A cooling system flush involves adding a cleaner to the radiator that helps get rid of dirt and rust that can clog the system and lead to failure. After the cleaner is flushed, new coolant is added that is free of the debris that can cause clogs.
Schedule Cooling System Service
If you suspect your cooling system needs service or repair, you need to call My Transmission Experts. Ignoring a malfunctioning cooling system can quickly lead to an overheated engine or seized engine. Don’t wait until you’re stranded on the side of the road with smoke pouring out of the hood. Schedule an appointment with the experts today!