5 Symptoms of a Clogged Radiator in Your Car

Last Updated on November 20, 2019 by themechanic

The radiator of a car has an important job to do for the engine. As you probably know, the engine can be a very hot place because of all the fast-moving components which cause friction. This generates a lot of heat, so the vehicle needs a way to stop this heat from getting worse. That is why coolant is put inside the engine because it transfers heat away from there to keep it cool. The heated coolant then flows into the radiator to get cooled down. The cooled coolant goes back to the engine and the cycle continues again.

Of course, it is possible for a radiator to get clogged after a while. All the debris, grime, and residue from the engine can get carried by the coolant to the radiator. Once that happens, the radiator will get clogged and fail to do its job properly. This could cause all sorts of problems for the engine and coolant.

5 Bad Symptoms

Engine heating is a very serious thing. If the radiator is clogged and not able to cool down the coolant and transfer it back into the engine, then all sorts of symptoms will arise. These can be very serious symptoms which could cause irreversible damage to your vehicle if they’re not dealt with promptly.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of a clogged car radiator.

1) Coolant Leak

Clogged radiators tend to form coolant leaks. When coolant is not able to pass in and out of the radiator steadily, it can leak out onto other areas of the vehicle. The radiator may even suffer damage too. You can see if there’s a leak by simply inspecting the radiator and seeing if there is coolant in places where it shouldn’t be.

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2) Overheated Engine

A major symptom of a clogged radiator is an overheated engine. As the build-up of debris takes place on the radiator, it disturbs the steady flow of coolant between the engine and radiator. As a result, the heated coolant from the engine is unable to get transferred to the radiator. This means the internal temperature of the engine will increase until the point where the engine is overheated. You will know when you have an overheated engine because the needle of the temperature gauge will move more toward the red zone.

3) Cylinder Head Gasket Damage

The engine has a cylinder head gasket which lies in the middle of the cylinder head and engine block. When coolant doesn’t circulate properly because of a clogged radiator, the cylinder head gasket can suffer some serious damage. This is usually permanent damage that will require you to replace the cylinder head gasket. Of course, you need to clear away the debris from the radiator first before replacing this part.

4) Water Pump Damage

The water pump won’t be able to do its job properly if you have a clogged radiator. With all the debris and grime backed up on the radiator, the water pump cannot successfully circulate the coolant fluid through the radiator properly. As a result, the water pump will suffer damage because of all the backed-up coolant that can’t get through the clogged radiator.

5) Discoloration and Sludge

When you visually inspect the radiator, the coolant liquid should appear green, yellow, or red. But if you start seeing it turn different colors or appear to be sludgy, then it is highly possible that you have a clogged radiator. Not only will you need to unclog the radiator, but you’ll also have to replace the coolant fluid too. Do not wait on this for too long because you don’t want the engine to suffer any damage.

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