Common Car Radiator Problems And What To Do About Them

The radiator of your car is a complex machine. Responsible for moderating the temperature of the engine, the radiator falls into the category of robust car parts that are designed to last.

It is this long lasting quality of the radiator that makes many car owners forget about its maintenance. Many car owners are only reminded about their radiator when their engine starts overheating or when they notice a leaking green liquid dripping from under the engine.

If you are in this situation, or if you are a proactive car owner that wants to avoid such a situation, this article is for you.

In this article, we will be discussing the most common car radiator problems that car owners face, along with their most viable solutions.

Without further delay, let us begin:

Gunk Deposits

Mineral deposits (gunk) are a common problem for many parts of your car that live under the bonnet. For the radiator, mineral deposits can lead to clogged radiator parts that can ultimately render the radiator useless.

If your car is overheating and there is no rust deposited on the radiator and you see no noticeable problems with the hoses connected to the radiator then chances are that gunk is the problem.

Thankfully, in most cases, mineral deposits can be removed from the radiator with a good old radiator flush.

Overheating When The Engine Is Idle

If you are sitting in your car at a red light and you see your engine temperature suddenly spike up, there is a serious problem with your radiator.

While it can potentially be the sign of a number of other problems, sudden temperature spikes in an idle engine usually point to a broken radiator fan.

Since the fan is one of the most integral parts of the radiator, when and if it stops functioning, you will probably have to replace your old radiator.

Rust Deposits

The deposit of rust on and inside the radiator is another common problem. THis is because most modern radiators are made of aluminium, a metal that is extremely prone to rusting.

The deposit of rust on your radiator can lead to leaks and holes in serious situations. If your car engine is overheating, you should inspect your radiator for rust.

In most cases, if the radiator is rusting, the rust is visible on the outside surface of the radiator. However, another way to check for rust is to check the coolant liquid. If the colour of the coolant has turned into a shade of brown, it means that there is rust inside the radiator.

To fix this problem, you can perform a radiator flush. However, if the problem is serious and the rust has started eating through the aluminium parts and walls of the radiator, you may need to replace it.

Radiator Leaks

Besides rust, a number of other things can cause your radiator to leak. These include physical damage or wear and tear.

If you notice the deposit of green liquid (coolant) under your parked car’s engine, it means that your radiator is leaking. While a leaking radiator is in itself a serious problem, leaking coolant is an equally serious problem because the coolant is toxic in nature.

Fixing a leaking radiator is a tricky undertaking that requires expertise. Hence, it is advisable to take your car to a mechanic if you notice that the radiator is leaking.


These were the four most common problems that car owners face with their radiators.

Are you facing a radiator issue that is not mentioned in this article? Share it with us in the comment section and we will try our best to help you out!