If you're a sun lover, you may be happy that winter is coming to an end and those long, steamy days are ahead. As the solstice approaches, you need to be sure that you are ready, especially when it comes to your automobile. Will it be able to cope with those very high temperatures without overheating? If you're not sure, you should take precautions just in case, but where do you begin?
Clearing the Buildup
Usually, a vehicle radiator is very efficient and will help to keep engine temperatures in check no matter how high the external temperature. However, if it's been some time since you serviced this component then don't expect it to work miracles. After all, sediment will build up within the narrow fins and this can be caused by corrosion, tiny specks of rubber and other elements. With time, all of this can bind together to restrict the passage of water, and before you know it, your engine could be in jeopardy.
If you have a lot of time and patience on your hands, you can take steps to fix the radiator yourself. Be aware that this is quite a lengthy job, however, and you will need plenty of room to do it properly.
Where to Start
Begin by removing the old coolant. Some radiators have a drain plug and tap towards the bottom of the unit, so you should look for this first. Be careful when you're trying to open the tap, as many of them are rather flimsy and may break if you're not careful. Make sure that you have a receptacle underneath to catch the old fluid and remember it's poisonous, so you cannot flush it down the drain.
Cleaning the inside
When you've removed the old fluid, loosen the top and bottom radiator hoses and get ready to flush the system out. To be safe, you should cover any electrical items nearby to protect them.
You may need to create a funnel of some sort to direct the water through the top hose opening or try and seal the surrounding area with some rags or tape. Otherwise, the water may just blow back at you.
Keep an eye on the water coming out of the bottom and continue the process until it runs clear. If you're not happy, however, you may need to reverse the process and force water through the bottom to the top.
This can be quite a messy job as it is difficult to catch the old water this way, and you may find it easier, in the long run, to remove the radiator altogether.
Cleaning the outside
As you look at the radiator you may notice a buildup of dirt and grime along the fins, which make up the core of the unit. Try to get rid of this mess using a very soft brush and be very careful. Do not be too aggressive or use a wire brush of any kind as you will damage the radiator very easily. You may also be able to direct water from one side by using a garden hose to disperse some of the stubborn deposits.
Getting the Professionals to Do It
If this sounds quite fiddly, that's because it is. If you take the vehicle into your mechanic, they will have a set of tools that can take care of this work much more easily. It's probably worth the investment to salvage some of your sanity! So remember that you can always reach out for car radiator repairs.