Car radiator repair and cleaning

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How does a car radiator work?

The engine of your car creates a lot of heat and to prevent overheating you need a radiator. Antifreeze (also called coolant) is pumped through your engine to absorb the heat it gives off. The heated coolant then moves to the radiator where it meets air from outside, which cools it down again. The coolant then moves back to the engine to absorb more heat. Through this on-going process the car radiator is responsible for regulating the engine’s temperature. This way it avoids overheating in the summer as well as becoming too cold in winter. 
The core of the car radiator is a block with small metal fins. The coolant runs through a hose to these fins, allowing for easy airflow directly from outside or via the car radiator fan. The vented heat is expelled through the grill of your car. This whole system functions under high pressure so the coolant doesn't start to boil. The high pressure is maintained thanks to the car radiator cap, which is also called the pressure cap.

To make sure that all parts of your engine can work smoothly, the car radiator is key and you need to make sure that it works perfectly. Overheating can seriously damage your engine and lead to a costly repair. 

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Problems with the radiator

There are a few problems that can occur with the radiator either due to physical damage or dirty coolant. 

  • Rust can affect the metal of the radiator, causing tears and cracks. Therefore it is important to do a car radiator flush to make sure that nothing collects in the radiator or the hoses
  • Rust on the outside of your radiator is not an immediate issue, however, if there is rust inside you will need to book a car radiator replacement. 
  • High temperatures in summer or low temperatures in winter will affect the coolant. In summer it can overheat and in winter it can freeze if it is not maintained, both causing cracks in the radiator.
  • Trapped air bubbles can also block the coolant from passing through the radiator. When that happens you will need to release the air in a process called bleeding. How to bleed a car radiator? The easiest way is to start the car with the radiator cap off. After a while, the heat will push the trapped air out. Depending on your car, you might also have a radiator bleeder valve that will make the process much simpler. 
  • An issue with the thermostat of the radiator or a leaking head gasket can lead to overheating or increased pressure - both can cause the car radiator to leak. Leaks can also occur due to clogged radiator tubes caused by debris or small rocks from the road. Therefore, it important to flush your radiator regularly and to keep an eye on the coolant level.

How to flush a car radiator

Most mechanics will check for radiator leaks when they work on your car’s engine or do an oil change. However, if you see coolant fluid underneath your car, chances are there is already a leak in the radiator. Coolant is sticky and usually green or orange, which makes it easy to distinguish from oil or fuel. 
Low coolant levels are another indication of a potential leak. To find the location of a potential leak you will need to flush your radiator. Flushing the radiator also helps to remove any dirt and prolongs your radiator’s life. If you are doing the job yourself, drain all coolant first before flushing the radiator. How to fill water in the car radiator? Easy! Use a hosepipe and flush it until clear water comes out at the bottom. Afterward, you mix the new coolant with water and fill the radiator again. 

In general, experts recommend having the coolant replaced every 25,000 to 40,000 miles.

How to fix a leaking car radiator?

In most cases, you won’t be able to do a car radiator repair for a leak but will have to get a replacement. If the leak is very small you can use a car radiator sealant to do a temporary fix. Either way, we recommend having your garage repair the radiator or replace it if the leak is too big. 

Many clients ask: where can I get car radiator repairs near me? If you are requesting quotes on autobutler.co.uk we will connect you with garages in your vicinity and you can find the perfect one for your car radiator repair service or its replacement. 

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Price on engine repairs

On autobutler.co.uk, we believe in transparency and fair prices. Below you can see the average prices for different car brands and how much you can save on comparing offers.

Make Avg. price Min - max
Audi £ 441 £ 72 - £ 960 Get quotes
Citroën £ 669 £ 133 - £ 1,280 Get quotes
Ford £ 414 £ 75 - £ 983 Get quotes
Land Rover £ 436 £ 96 - £ 976 Get quotes
Nissan £ 344 £ 63 - £ 1,068 Get quotes
Peugeot £ 381 £ 60 - £ 1,080 Get quotes
Renault £ 554 £ 75 - £ 1,132 Get quotes
Toyota £ 160 £ 54 - £ 450 Get quotes
Vauxhall £ 346 £ 75 - £ 829 Get quotes
Volkswagen £ 431 £ 75 - £ 840 Get quotes

The prices are based on all quotes sent via autobutler.co.uk, and may contain errors or vary. Please create a job if you would like detailed quotes for your car.

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