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Radiators and Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs – The Basics Of How This Essential Engine Component Works

Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs

Your vehicle’s radiator is a fundamental part of its cooling system. It permits the intense heat produced by the engine to dissipate easily, which keeps the engine functioning at its suggested temperature range. When there is a problem with a vehicle’s radiator, it is also a problem for the overall function of the vehicle – whether it’s a car, pickup truck, SUV or a heavy duty commercial truck. For all of which we offer affordable Uptown Chicago Auto Repair.

The radiator is positioned at the front of a vehicle’s engine bay just behind the grill. It is attached to a metal frame known as the radiator core support. This structure is connected to the vehicle’s frame. The radiator unit itself is made of a series of tubes through which the all-important engine coolant flows. The tubes are set in between a pair of tanks that contain coolant at an inlet and outlet. Connected to the tubes within the radiator core are its fins. The fins radiate heat outwardly into the air. The process of cooling the engine starts when the vehicle’s water pump circulates coolant into the engine. The coolant flows around cylinders and absorbs some of the heat that’s emitted by combustion in the engine. The heated-up coolant fluid then goes into the radiator via an upper radiator hose and then through the radiator’s tubes. The heat then is conducted from the tubes to the fins, which disperse the heat efficiently into the air. Air then is blown across the radiator unit through the grill while the vehicle travels forward, aided by an electric fan. Lastly, the coolant makes its way back to the engine to start the journey all over again.

The Materials Used To Manufacture Radiators

Radiators can be made from a variety of different materials, with each having their own advantages and disadvantages. The most widely-used materials for radiators are brass or copper, aluminum and plastic.

Older model radiators are typically made from copper and brass. This is mainly due to the fact that copper is an excellent metal for heat conduction. However, copper can be challenging to mold into a radiator tanks, though, which is way brass is also a popular material. Copper tanks are quite efficient at cooling, but they are also quite heavy. Copper is also prone to corrosion.

Many carmakers have moved towards aluminum radiators, although aluminum does not conduct heat as efficiently as copper. On the positive side though, aluminum is significantly lighter than copper or brass. That equates to a faster and typically more fuel efficient vehicle. Along with this advantage, aluminum is still adequate at heat transfer.

Many carmakers also use plastic radiators. With these units, the tubes and fins are still manufactured from either copper or aluminum, but the main radiator tanks are made from plastic. While plastic is light, it offers minimal heat transfer capabilities. One disadvantage with plastic radiators is that they do not react as heat as well as metals do. As a plastic radiator contracts and expands with heat, cracks can start to form which then lead to leaks. An advantage to plastic, though, is that is doesn’t corrode like metal can.

What Can Go Wrong With Radiators?

Radiators can develop a variety of problems – all of which can be resolved by our Uptown Auto Repairs experts. Some problems are specific to the material they’re made from, which other problems can occur in any type of radiator.

The most frequent problem our Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs staff sees is probably a clogged radiator. Coolant fluid should appear blue or greenish in color and be similar in consistency as water. Corrosion occurring inside a radiator can result in rust getting into the coolant, which can turn it into a brownish sludge. Once this happens, the coolant will simply not be able to do its job and keep the engine cool.

Naturally, an overheating engine is a typically sign of a radiator that’s become clogged. The contaminated coolant can also collect in the corners of the radiator tank and leave deposits. This can significantly block the proper flow of coolant. Clogged radiators can also be subject to additional corrosion and then form leaks. This problem can be prevented by bringing your vehicle to our full service shop for Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs that will keep it running smoothly.

On occasion, radiators can develop problems due to exterior instead of interior causes. For instance, the outside of a radiator can sustain damage from rocks or other debris on the road. This can result in holes, leaks and bent or even broken radiator fins. Because the purpose of the fins is to enhance the surface area of the unit to radiate excess heat away, damaged fins substantially diminish a radiator’s effectiveness. Our Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs experts can remedy this problem by straightening bent fins with a device called a “radiator comb.” However, if the fins are fully broken then replacement may be recommended. Corrosion and rust, too, can affect the exterior of a vehicle radiator, which causes leaks or diminished effectiveness of the fins.

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In other cases, still other radiator problems can develop. If a vehicle’s ignition system is not correctly grounded, the radiator can actually take on an electric charge. If the radiator is made of aluminum, this will result in electrolysis. In these situations, an electrochemical reaction in between aluminum and coolant fluid that causes accelerated corrosion of the radiator. Aluminum can also react badly with older cooling additive products. Older coolants were made with brass or copper radiators in mind and may spark a reaction that corrodes the interior of the radiator.

Parts related to radiators can incur damage as well and prevent a vehicle’s cooling system from working properly. At Triangle Radiator & Auto Service, we offer a full slate of affordable Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs that will keep your vehicle’s cooling system in good condition. Radiator hoses, for instance, can form leaks or kinks that prevent coolant from circulating adequately. Radiator hoses can get punctured by road debris, wear out from overheating. Oil reacting with rubber hoses can cause the hoses to deteriorate and develop bulges. A loose fit or deterioration of hose clamps can also result in leaks.

A faulty or cracked radiator cap can also certainly result in problems – usually leaks – that call for Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs. A radiator’s overflow unit can also develop problematic leaks and cracks that will require prompt service.

Need a Replacement Radiator for Your Car, Van, SUV or Truck? Call Us For Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs

If you’re in need of a quality replacement radiator, you have arrived at the right place – we serve neighborhoods in the Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs community! We’re experts at repairing, replacing and recoring radiators. We also happen to stock the best quality, most reliable aftermarket radiators available on the market! We have radiators manufactured from different quality materials with various numbers of cores for use in cars, vans, SUVs, light, medium, heavy duty and semi-trucks – and all at low prices!

For excellent Uptown Chicago Auto Repairs call Triangle at 773-539-5858.