Your car's radiator is very important to its overall function. The radiator holds and circulates coolant, which is necessary so that your engine doesn't literally grind to a halt as it operates. This coolant is needed year-round, not just during summertime, which is why it's vital that you understand when the radiator may have a leak or otherwise need repair. Ignoring signs that the radiator needs fixing can lead to engine overheating and the radiator actually bursting, since it operates with a certain amount of pressure. Note the following, and don't ignore these when you notice them happening with your car.
1. A sweet smell from under the hood
Radiator fluid usually has a very sweet smell to it, but you should never notice this smell as it should always be contained in the radiator or its lines and hoses. If you notice what you think is a hot, sweet smell coming from under the hood, you may have a leak in the radiator or the hoses and coolant is leaking out.
2. A green puddle under your car
Radiator fluid is usually a greenish colour, so when you notice a drip under your car that is green in colour, this too often signals a leak in the radiator or the hoses. You might also notice this green fluid on parts of your car when you open the hood, depending on where the leak may be located.
3. A hissing sound
The fluid that is in the radiator and that gets pushed through hoses in order to cool the engine is under pressure, so when there is a leak in the radiator hoses, connectors or plug, you may hear a hissing sound. A hissing sound in your car can be a number of things, but if you do hear it, open your car's hood and see if you notice droplets of the greenish fluid mentioned above. They could be located near the front of the car, on the radiator itself or anywhere along the hoses coming out from the radiator.
4. Dashboard lights
Too often, drivers ignore dashboard warning lights as they assume their car will only have a problem when it actually stops running. However, if you notice that your "check engine" light is on, or that the thermostat warning light goes on, meaning your car is running too hot, these could be signs that the radiator needs fluid or repair. Note if the temperature gauge of your car is also signalling that your car is running too hot, and have your radiator checked for a leak or lack of fluid.
Contact a business like Natrad to check out your car if you even suspect there's an issue with the radiator.