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Car Radiator: Function, Problems, and Symptoms

The radiator in a car is a low-maintenance and maintenance-free component. Inside the aluminium metal frame is part of a closed water circuit in which cooling water circulates when the engine is running. The cooling water dissipates excess heat and protects the engine from overheating. The temperature of the cooling water is displayed to the driver on the instrument panel.

Common car radiator problems – leaks and overheating

A leaking BMW radiator can cause the engine to overheat. The temperature gauge will then rise into the red. This can eventually lead to serious engine damage. Therefore, if the radiator is broken or leaking, the engine should be switched off until the problem has been rectified and a workshop selected. You can find reliable specialist workshops in your area for the professional inspection and replacement of the radiator at a fixed price online. Besides a leaking radiator, common causes of engine overheating include porous connecting hoses through which cooling water escapes. A faulty water pump can also cause the engine to overheat. If the engine heats up too much and a pool forms under the parked car, cooling water is probably escaping. Another 'suspect' is the V-belt. If the belt is faulty, worn, or under-tensioned, the water pump will not be able to pump enough coolant, causing the car to overheat. A dirty car thermostat or car cooling fan can have similarly serious consequences.

Diagnosis: leaking radiator

Diagnosis: leaking radiator

Things are a little more problematic if the coolant is dripping directly from a leak in the radiator itself. Taping or sealing the leaking radiator is out of the question simply because of the high pressure the coolant is under. In this case, the only option is to replace the radiator. In this context, a word about car radiator leak sealants. These little helpers may be useful in the short term to get you to the nearest workshop. However, sealants are not a permanent solution as they cannot withstand the pressure in the cooling system in the long term.

What to do when your radiator leaks

In such cases, the car must be towed to a workshop for diagnosis before continuing. A leaking or cracked radiator requires expert knowledge of the cooling system and its peculiarities. The technician knows all the weak points in the cooling circuit and has the necessary expertise and equipment to reliably detect the fault. The workshop knows exactly what to do to repair the problem. The entire cooling system is under severe pressure and an amateurish approach can lead to injury, and engine and environmental damage.

Defective radiator hose

At best, a radiator hose that has broken under mechanical stress, become tired with age or been nibbled by a marten is simply defective. Replacing such a hose is a routine job for a qualified workshop. The coolant is professionally drained, the broken hose is replaced and, after a leak test, the problem is solved. The cost per hose starts at £6, antifreeze coolant is about £10 per litre and the replacement takes around two hours, depending on the car model. This will include labour and small parts such as hose clamps, and your bill will be at least £100.

Do not continue driving with a leaking radiator

Despite the cost of repairing the cooling system or even replacing the car radiator for your engine, the alternative – engine damage due to a leaking radiator – is even more inconvenient and expensive. Cooling system repairs should always be left in the hands of a specialist workshop. They know how to handle coolant and dispose of it properly. They will also know how to deal with the high pressure in the cooling system and how to bleed it properly. We can only advise against trying to do this yourself. You could end up breaking down on the road or worse.

Top products related to this topic:

AUTODOC Bestsellers: parts at a good price

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RIDEX 470R0002 Engine radiator Aluminium, Brazed cooling fins
Parts Details
  • Radiator type: Brazed cooling fins
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Width [mm]: 399
  • Thickness [mm]: 24
  • Height [mm]: 647
  • Outlet Ø 1 [mm]: 32
  • Inlet Ø 1 [mm]: 32
  • RIDEX: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 470R0002
  • Our price: £ 38,83
  • Condition: New
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RIDEX Engine radiator
Article number: 470R0002
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£ 63,97
£ 38,83
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-54%
RIDEX 470R0149 Engine radiator Aluminium, Mechanically jointed cooling fins
Parts Details
  • Cooling fins material: Aluminium
  • Radiator type: Mechanically jointed cooling fins
  • Water Tank Material (radiator): Plastic
  • Core Dimensions: 650 x 415 x 34 mm
  • Outlet Ø [mm]: 32,5
  • Inlet Ø [mm]: 32,5
  • Frame Material: Plastic
  • RIDEX: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 470R0149
  • Our price: £ 40,08
  • Condition: New
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RIDEX Engine radiator
Article number: 470R0149
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£ 87,97
£ 40,08
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-44%
RIDEX 470R0009 Engine radiator Aluminium
Parts Details
  • Cooling fins material: Aluminium
  • Water Tank Material (radiator): Plastic
  • Core Dimensions: 600 x 368 x 26 mm
  • Outlet Ø [mm]: 35
  • Inlet Ø [mm]: 35
  • RIDEX: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 470R0009
  • Our price: £ 43,78
  • Condition: New
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RIDEX Engine radiator
Article number: 470R0009
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£ 78,97
£ 43,78
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-39%
RIDEX 470R0003 Engine radiator Aluminium, Plastic, Aluminium x 538, with accessories, Manual-/optional automatic transmission, Mechanically jointed cooling fins
Parts Details
  • Cooling fins material: Aluminium
  • Radiator type: Mechanically jointed cooling fins
  • Water Tank Material (radiator): Plastic
  • Transmission Type: Manual- / optional automatic transmission
  • Material: Aluminium, Plastic
  • Width [mm]: 380
  • Outlet Ø [mm]: 32,0
  • Inlet Ø [mm]: 32,0
  • Thickness [mm]: 26
  • Heating / Cooling: for vehicles without oil cooler
  • Supplementary Article / Supplementary Info: with accessories
  • Core Width [mm]: 538
  • RIDEX: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 470R0003
  • Our price: £ 42,02
  • Condition: New
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RIDEX Engine radiator
Article number: 470R0003
RRP

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£ 69,97
£ 42,02
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-41%
RIDEX 470R0010 Engine radiator Aluminium
Parts Details
  • Cooling fins material: Aluminium
  • Width [mm]: 414
  • Thickness [mm]: 23
  • Height [mm]: 650
  • Outlet Ø 1 [mm]: 32
  • Inlet Ø 1 [mm]: 32
  • RIDEX: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 470R0010
  • Our price: £ 43,62
  • Condition: New
Details
RIDEX Engine radiator
Article number: 470R0010
RRP

RRP is the recommended retail price set by the manufacturer or importer of the product and provided by the manufacturer, supplier or retailer. AUTODOC displays the RRP (VAT incl.) for a product if it has been received from at least one supplier or another source that has such information.

£ 74,97
£ 43,62
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RIDEX 470R0148 Engine radiator Aluminium, Plastic, for vehicles without air conditioning, Manual Transmission
Parts Details
  • Transmission Type: Manual Transmission
  • Core Dimensions: 442x322x32
  • Material: Aluminium, Plastic
  • Vehicle Equipment: for vehicles without air conditioning
  • Outlet Ø [mm]: 40
  • Inlet Ø [mm]: 40
  • Fuel Type: Petrol
  • RIDEX: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 470R0148
  • Our price: £ 53,58
  • Condition: New
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RIDEX Engine radiator
Article number: 470R0148
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£ 92,97
£ 53,58
(Price per item)
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-44%
RIDEX 470R0146 Engine radiator Aluminium
Parts Details
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Width [mm]: 415
  • Outlet Ø [mm]: 38
  • Inlet Ø [mm]: 38
  • Thickness [mm]: 29
  • Height [mm]: 790
  • RIDEX: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 470R0146
  • Our price: £ 59,53
  • Condition: New
Details
RIDEX Engine radiator
Article number: 470R0146
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£ 106,97
£ 59,53
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LIQUI MOLY 5189 Cleaner, cooling system Tin, Capacity: 1l
Parts Details
  • Packing Type: Tin
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • LIQUI MOLY: Cleaner, cooling system
  • Item number: 5189
  • Our price: £ 19,82
  • Condition: New
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LIQUI MOLY Cleaner, cooling system
Article number: 5189
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£ 19,82
£ 19,82 for 1 litre
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HELLA 8MK 376 888-784 Engine radiator for vehicles with/without air conditioning, 650 x 415 x 23 mm, Automatic Transmission, Manual Transmission, Mechanically jointed cooling fins
Parts Details
  • Radiator type: Mechanically jointed cooling fins
  • Transmission Type: Automatic Transmission, Manual Transmission
  • Vehicle Equipment: for vehicles with / without air conditioning
  • Core Length [mm]: 650
  • Core Width [mm]: 415
  • Core Depth [mm]: 23
  • HELLA: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 8MK 376 888-784
  • Our price: £ 87,76
  • Condition: New
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HELLA Engine radiator
Article number: 8MK 376 888-784
£ 87,76
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
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VAN WEZEL 06002124 Engine radiator Aluminium, 435 x 440 x 35 mm, *** IR PLUS ***, with sealing plug, Brazed cooling fins
Parts Details
  • Supplementary Info: *** IR PLUS ***
  • Cooling fins material: Aluminium
  • Radiator type: Brazed cooling fins
  • Water Tank Material (radiator): Plastic
  • Outlet Ø [mm]: 40
  • Inlet Ø [mm]: 40
  • Quality: IR PLUS
  • Heating / Cooling: with expansion tank
  • Supplementary Article / Supplementary Info Info 2: with sealing plug
  • See accessories list for additionally required parts
  • Additionally required articles (article numbers): 06009999
  • Observe mounting information
  • Core Length [mm]: 435
  • Core Width [mm]: 440
  • Core Depth [mm]: 35
  • VAN WEZEL: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 06002124
  • Our price: £ 97,39
  • Condition: New
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VAN WEZEL Engine radiator
Article number: 06002124
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£ 97,39
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VAN WEZEL *** IR PLUS *** 49002037 Engine radiator Aluminium, 650 x 322 x 32 mm, with accessories, Mechanically jointed cooling fins
Parts Details
  • Product line: *** IR PLUS ***
  • Cooling fins material: Aluminium
  • Radiator type: Mechanically jointed cooling fins
  • Water Tank Material (radiator): Plastic
  • Quality: IR PLUS
  • Supplementary Article / Supplementary Info: with accessories
  • Pipe Ø [mm]: 8
  • Outlet Ø 1 [mm]: 32
  • Thread Size: M22x1,5mm
  • Inlet Ø 1 [mm]: 32
  • Core Length [mm]: 650
  • Core Width [mm]: 322
  • Core Depth [mm]: 32
  • VAN WEZEL: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 49002037
  • Our price: £ 37,70
  • Condition: New
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VAN WEZEL Engine radiator
Article number: 49002037
RRP

RRP is the recommended retail price set by the manufacturer or importer of the product and provided by the manufacturer, supplier or retailer. AUTODOC displays the RRP (VAT incl.) for a product if it has been received from at least one supplier or another source that has such information.

£ 125,63
£ 37,70
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AKS DASIS 151670N Engine radiator 600 x 375 x 26 mm, Mechanically jointed cooling fins
Parts Details
  • Radiator type: Mechanically jointed cooling fins
  • Outlet Ø [mm]: 34
  • Inlet Ø [mm]: 34
  • Weight [kg]: 2,22
  • Packaging length [cm]: 84,5
  • Packaging width [cm]: 47,5
  • Packaging height [cm]: 10,5
  • Core Length [mm]: 600
  • Core Width [mm]: 375
  • Core Depth [mm]: 26
  • AKS DASIS: Engine radiator
  • Item number: 151670N
  • Our price: £ 59,98
  • Condition: New
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AKS DASIS Engine radiator
Article number: 151670N
£ 59,98
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
CI422R013 PRASCO PE2300 Engine radiator Aluminium, 380 x 563 x 23 mm, Mechanically jointed cooling fins
Parts Details
  • Cooling fins material: Aluminium
  • Radiator type: Mechanically jointed cooling fins
  • Water Tank Material (radiator): Plastic
  • Outlet Ø [mm]: 32
  • Inlet Ø [mm]: 32
  • Manufacturer Restriction: Unifit
  • Core Depth [mm]: 23
  • Core Length [mm]: 380
  • Core Width [mm]: 563
  • PRASCO: Engine radiator
  • Item number: PE2300
  • Our price: £ 72,62
  • Condition: New
Details
PRASCO Engine radiator
Article number: PE2300
£ 72,62
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
K2 T220 Cleaner, cooling system Capacity: 400ml
Parts Details
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  • K2: Cleaner, cooling system
  • Item number: T220
  • Our price: £ 3,24
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K2 Cleaner, cooling system
Article number: T220
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£ 3,24
£ 8,10 for 1 litre
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LIQUI MOLY 3042 Cleaner, cooling system Tin, Capacity: 150ml
Parts Details
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  • Item number: 3042
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  • Condition: New
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LIQUI MOLY Cleaner, cooling system
Article number: 3042
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£ 8,64
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