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The radiator performs a critical function; it keeps the engine from overheating. While running, the engine produces heat. Coolant flowing through the system absorbs and removes extra heat from the engine. The coolant then passes through the radiator where it cools off and is later circulated back to the engine to absorb heat again.
A radiator has two tanks that are connected to each other through aluminum or brass tubes. When the coolant passes through these tubes, the radiator cooling fan blows air across the radiator to lower the temperature of the coolant. The tank is usually made of plastic, and it is common for it to crack and start leaking coolant. If the tank or the tubes crack, coolant will leak , the vehicle will overheat and could cause severe engine damage. Radiators also tend to clog over time. When this occurs, not enough coolant flows through the radiator leading to heat build-up, causing the engine to overheat.
Follow the service maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer to get the coolant replaced at regular intervals. It is a good practice to change the coolant every 25,000-40,000 miles. Replacing the coolant will ensure it is free of contaminants such as rust or scale that can block it from flowing through the radiator and engine. Given high engine temperatures, it is inevitable that the tanks in the radiator will eventually crack. The thermostat should be replaced when replacing the radiator as well as any necessary radiator hoses.The system should also be flushed out of all old coolant to remove any contamination.
If a defective radiator is not replaced, the overheating of the engine can potentially lead to serious internal engine damage.