A radiator is the part of the engine cooling system that excess combustion heat is lost to atmosphere by means of forced convection using a circulating liquid such as water or water/glycol to affect heat transfer.
Generally every owner's manual has specifications of when it should be changed. Also some car manufacturers use extended life anti-freeze. We suggest flushing your cooling system between 30,000 and 50,000 miles or whenever you replace a cooling system component. This will help prevent future problems.
A radiator cap is a pressure cap that controls the amount of coolant that is dispensed or removed into your overflow tank. A radiator cap that is not working properly can make your car or truck not cool properly.
Electrolysis comes from electrical current that is introduced to your
cooling system. This current generally comes from a bad ground due to
mechanical damage, corrosion, or a frayed wire in contact with the
radiator. Any vehicle with aftermarket accessories (stereo, speakers,
lights, etc.) that are not ground properly are looking for trouble.
Electrolysis can corrode a hole in your radiator or heater core in as soon
as 30 days.
Why is the radiator important??
The engine of your car produces a tremendous amount of heat when in operation. Your vehicle is equipped with a cooling system to help prevent your car from becoming too hot. Liquid coolant is circulated through and around your engine to keep its vital components cool, and in the process, this coolant becomes extremely hot. The radiator is designed to transfer the heat from this liquid to its metal coils, and then the heat is dispelled through ventilation. If the radiator or any other cooling system component fails, then the car can quickly overheat and cause damage to your engine.
Above, you will see the critical components of a radiator. When you retrieve information about the specific radiator for your car, you may notice some important notes about certain measurements on the radiator. This diagram will help you better understand the measurements that are being referenced.
Inlet Tank: This is the area of the radiator where the hot water/coolant from your engine enters the radiator for cooling in the radiator.
Outlet Tank: The area where the coolant is sent after being cooled by the radiator coils.
Inlet/Outlet Connections: The short tubes where the radiator hose connects to the radiator.
Core: The area where the liquid gets cooled. It is composed of metal tubes and many zig-zag shaped fins. The coolant passes through the tubes, and the heat from the liquid passes to the fins and then is dissipated into the air.
High Efficiency Core: A core that has more fins per inch, more
tubes per radiator and overall, more cooling capacity.
Tubes: The 'pipes' that send the coolant through the radiator. Generally, more tubes indicate more cooling capacity.
Transmission/Engine Oil Coolers: These are devices that are constructed inside the tanks of the radiator to transfer heat from transmission oil/engine oil to the liquid coolant for heat dissipation.