The radiator has one job and it's an important one: to keep your engine from overheating. Internal combustion engines produce a lot of heat when in use. The coolant in your vehicle circulates through the engine and the radiator, absorbs the heat and uses the air passing through the radiator to cool it down. 

If your radiator isn't functioning properly, this can lead to kinds of serious problems. Here are four signs your radiator is bad or failing:

1. Your vehicle is overheating

If your vehicle constantly overheats, especially under normal driving conditions, this is one of the most common signs that your radiator is bad or failing. The radiator is the only thing that keeps the engine cool. But overheating doesn't mean the radiator has failed. It could be a simple as replacing the coolant or another, smaller issue.

2. Your vehicle is leaking coolant

If you see coolant (usually a bright yellow, green or red liquid) pooling under your vehicle while it is parked, you have a leak. A coolant leak is a sure sign something is wrong. Whether it is the radiator itself, a hose or a problem in the engine block, a leak should be addressed as soon as possible. A pressure test is necessary to determine the source of the leak. For more information, contact the professionals at Ace Auto Parts today.

3. Sludge build up in your radiator

The coolant in your radiator should be bright yellow, green or red in color. If the coolant appears discolored at any time, turning a rusty or oil color, this is a sign of contaminant build up in your radiator. Contaminants can greatly impact your radiator's performance. A number of issues can cause your engine coolant to become discolored and a mechanic should review the system right away.

4. Low coolant levels

If you're constantly adding coolant to your radiator or the "low coolant" light on your vehicle's dash keeps turning on, you mostly likely have a leak. If you're required to routinely replenish coolant, you should bring your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for an immediate diagnosis.

Keeping your radiator is good working condition is key to your vehicles overall health and performance. The auto experts at Ace Auto Parts in St. Paul, MN, are here to help with all your automotive needs. More more information, call us at 651-717-4299.