A radiator maintains the temperature of your car engine. However, if the radiator doesn't work correctly, it may cause your car's engine to heat up. As a result, your car engine will not perform well. So, you must know how hot does a radiator get?
Generally, if the temperature goes above 93℃ or 220 F, it means the car is overheating. And this overheating could bring significant damage. However, the maximum radiator temperature also depends on the coolant in the radiator.
In this article, we’ll learn how a radiator works to maintain the temperature of the car engines. Besides, we’ll also discuss the causes of radiator overheating.
How does a radiator work?
A car engine produces heat when it runs due to the combustion of air and fuel. However, it is critical to remove this engine heat through a heat exchanger. And the car radiator is a part of the engine cooling system. It helps to cool the overheated engine.
The coolant reservoir in the cooling system contains coolant. The constant coolant flow helps the radiator eliminate extra heat. The radiator allows the coolants to move through the thin metal fins. These metal fins will then allow the heat to flow to the outside air.
Besides, a fan is also present to blow the air across the radiator and move it outside. Thus, the radiator fan also helps you to attain safe operating temperatures in the car engine.
No matter what's the size or shape of the radiator, it will work in the same way as described above.
How hot does a radiator get?
Ironically, the engine temperature denotes the engine's efficiency. The hotter the engine gets, the more efficient it will be. However, it doesn't mean the engine can get as hotter as possible. There's a limit.
The reason is the aluminum heads and pistons in the car engine. The car engine should not be as hot to soften or melt these aluminum parts.
So, how hot does a car radiator get? Typically, a temperature above 93℃ or 220 F is a sign of engine overheating. However, the coolant used in the radiator also decides the maximum radiator temperature. The 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol with distilled water is the best coolant.
For instance, a mixture of ethylene glycol and water boils at 225 degrees. However, if the radiator cap rates at 15 psi are present, it could increase the boiling temperature of this coolant up to 265 degrees.
So, do your car’s thermostats indicate overheating? Does it mean your car engine's cooling system is not working correctly? In this situation, it's better to consult with a mechanic as soon as possible.
What are the causes of radiator overheating?
Overeating occurs only when the circulation of the coolant stops. That's why; Clogging and leaks are the most common causes for radiator overheating.
Meanwhile, these are also the reasons what cause a radiator to crack or burst. Ultimately the consequence is the same, higher radiator temperature.
Let's find out some most common reasons behind radiator overheating:
1. Leakage in the cooling system:
Leakages in the coolant system don't allow enough coolant to pass through the radiator. Consequently, the radiator will overheat. Leakages may occur in the water pump, freeze plugs, head gasket, heater core, thermostat housing, or radiator hoses.
The wrong mixing ratio of the distilled water and the coolant is also a reason for overheating. Besides, a low amount of coolant is another problem. So, keep checking the coolant amount in the radiator. If it's low, refill it with a new coolant or antifreeze.
3. Thermostat failure:
The thermostat allows the coolant to pass through the radiator. Therefore, the failure of the thermostat means the coolant will not be able to pass through the radiator. And ultimately, there will be no removal of heat from the car engine, leading to radiator overheating.
4. Bad Radiator
The radiator is the central part of the car cooling system, which removes the heat. So, any disruption in the radiator, such as clogging, may cause overheating. Besides, clogging also causes the engine to crack or burst and finally to overheat.
Some other causes of the radiator overheating:
● Loss of coolant (through internal or external leaks).
● Accumulation of deposits inside the water jacket leading to the poor conductivity of heat.
● Damaged radiator cap.
● Loose water pump.
● Worn out hoses.
● Slipping clutch of fan.
● Non-functional cooling fan.
● Broken belts.
How to prevent car engine's from overheating?
As we know, heat flows from higher to lower temperatures. It indicates that constant contact with cooler liquid could decrease hot metal temperature. So, ensure the continuous coolant flow to prevent your car from overheating.
Here're some tips that will prevent your car to deceive you on the road due to overheating:
● Check the coolant level in your vehicle regularly. Keep checking the thermostat of the car while driving.
● Ensure that you have an extra bottle of coolant and water in your car.
● Always use the better quality engine oil in car and change regularly according to owner's manual instruction.
● Keep checking the concentration of the coolant. The chemical test strips could help you in determining the condition and the concentration of the coolant.
● Replace the coolant regularly. Usually, you should replace the coolant every 30,000 miles.
● Keep checking the alkalinity of the coolant with chemical test strips. Change the coolant immediately if the alkalinity test goes against the reference chart.
● Check the users' manual of your car to stay updated about the coolant service flushes.
Radiator temperature is critical to decide the engine efficiency. Therefore, you must know how hot does a radiator get? Well, it depends on the concentration of the coolant you're using. Keep in mind; radiator overheating is a serious issue.
However, you can prevent this issue with regular maintenance checks. If you identify any problem, contact the certified mechanic as soon as possible to avoid permanent damage to your car.