Cash for Clunkers

Tara Hornor
Written byTara HornorUpdated - October 19, 2023
Tara Hornor
Tara Hornor

Tara Hornor is an experienced writer and entrepreneur with over two decades of experien... | See full bio

John Rush
Edited and Fact-Checked byJohn RushEditor
John Rush
John Rush
Automotive Content Accuracy Auditor|||

With over four decades of experience, John Rush is a highly accomplished business owner... | See full bio

Warning Signs of Car Radiator Problems

A car radiator is the major part in control of keeping the engine and its components properly running at cooler temperatures. It is responsible for reducing the temperature of the coolant which moves through the car engine. Without it, the car would overheat while idling or driving in hot weather.

The internal combustion system in any vehicle makes use of this liquid cooling system which is composed of hoses and belts, radiator, thermostat, water pump, and other parts to facilitate keeping the engine operating at a regulated temperature.

car radiator

Car radiator role

As mentioned above, the car radiator plays a primary role in the cooling system. As the engine generates heat, the coolant absorbs the heat and passes hot fluid to the radiator. There it flows through thin tubes and is cooled by the airflow which is incoming from the vehicles’ grill. Once the airflow is cooled, the engine fluid will flow back to the engine of the car back into this repetitive process.

Problem signs of a car radiator

If this cooling system fails, your engine could overheat and cause you quite a hefty repair bill. It’s best to catch any radiator problems early on to avoid expensive repairs. The following are some common warning signs to watch for:

Increasing temperature gauge

It is very essential to pay close attention to the temperature gauge on the car’s dashboard. If you see the temperature gauge climbing to the warning zone, you’ll want to pull over immediately to let the engine cool down. High engine temperatures could mean something as simple as a leaking coolant hose or something more severe, such as a failing car radiator. Take your vehicle to a mechanic immediately if the temperature gauge keeps getting high.

car radiator

Steam coming from the vehicle’s engine

If there is white steam coming from the car’s hood, this means that the engine is overheating. As with a high temperature gauge, pull over to the side of the road and wait on the engine to cool down. Once the motor or engine has cooled down, you might want to check on the fluid levels and ensure there is an adequate level for the engine to function so well. If not, it may be important to add some coolant, and you may need to consider mixing the coolant with water. Again, a mechanic will be able to help you further diagnose the problem.

Coolant spray marks on the engine

You can also check the hood of your car for paint or spots of rust all over the car engine. This may indicate that a pinhole in the car radiator or the connecting host is causing the coolant to spray and spill over the hot surface of the engine and its various parts. The coolant boils on any surface it may land, taking the paint off with it. If not addressed quickly, this will cause your engine to rust and wear out much more quickly than normal.

car radiator


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White exhaust

If the coolant is leaking into the engine, you will might see a large amount of thick white smoke coming from your tailpipe. If you notice thick white exhaust, take your car to a mechanic immediately. It could mean that you have a blown head gasket, which is pricey but also highly necessary. If you ignore the problem, you could be looking at a complete engine replacement.

Leaking coolant

If you happen to see liquid dripping from the car’s engine (especially bright green fluid), most probably the coolant is leaking. This may come from the car radiator directly or it could be a different part of the cooling system that is failing. Leaking coolant is another problem you will want to get solved right away.

car radiator

If you think your car is having some trouble with its cooling system and would require a radiator repair or replacement, you should really pay attention to it. Keep in mind, too, that many problems with a car radiator can be avoided if you keep up with routine maintenance. If, however, a radiator replacement isn’t something you want to deal with or if your car is too old to be worth anymore maintenance, you could try to sell your car.

Cash for Clunkers can definitely lend you a hand in this endeavor. We offer amazing deals for used cars, and ensure that you get the most cash from old vehicles. We get you in touch with a local buyer, pick up your vehicle for you, and give you cash on the spot. Should you be interested in selling used cars and making money from it, please visit, call now, or get an instant quote from Cash for Clunkers for more information.






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