The modern-day car has thousands of individual parts, some of which are more important than others. It is, however, true to say that your vehicle would not go very far at all if it weren't for the humble radiator. You may think that this is simply a glorified water tank and its work is simplified due to its position at the front of the vehicle, but there is a lot more to it than that. How is a radiator made and why does this process of construction make it vulnerable to deterioration over time?
In the old days, a radiator would be a very heavy and cumbersome piece of equipment and rather prone to corrosion. Today, however, this unit will typically be made from aluminium and designed to put up with the rigours of everyday motoring more effectively.
A radiator is made from a number of different components including tubes, fins, headers and tanks. All of the action takes place within the tubes and fins, and these parts are carefully engineered for the purpose. Essentially, hot water from the engine is sent into the radiator and is then forced through the fins, which are light aluminium ribbons, set out in a corrugated pattern. The tubes themselves are flat and create a broad surface area that allows the passing air to dissipate any heat.
At the Core
The tubes and fins are put together in a pattern known as "core stacking." This is a very strong and cohesive unit when it is bonded together, but the fins themselves have to be very narrow, and this can eventually be their downfall.
Risk of Blockage
Even though each radiator has a myriad of individual fins and tubes, it only takes a slight blockage in one area to cause a significant downturn in efficiency. The diameter of each fin is minimal in order to ensure that the water within can be cooled when it is passed through the tube core.
Unfortunately, sediment can build up within the water from a number of different sources. Tiny particles of rubber may wear off the inside of some pipes, a certain amount of corrosion may take place inside the system and imperfections can be present in the coolant. These tiny particles can become lodged within the radiator core, and it doesn't take too much of an accumulation to cause an issue.
Time to Take Action
Therefore, if you've noticed that your car tends to overheat when you're stationary at a traffic light, think about the radiator. It may be time for you to take the vehicle in to get the system flushed using the proper equipment so that you can return to everyday reliability.
For more information, contact your local car radiator repair service today.