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 system to cool it down. 

If your radiator isn't functioning properly, this can lead to kinds of serious problems. Here are six expert signs from the Ace Auto Parts pros your radiator is bad or failing.

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 as simple as keeping up on maintenance like replacing the coolant or another smaller issue.

Your Vehicle is Leaking Coolant

You have a leak if you see coolant (usually a bright yellow, green, or red liquid) pooling under your vehicle while it is parked. 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.

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 buildup in your radiator. 

Contaminants can greatly impact your radiator's performance. Several issues can cause your engine coolant to become discolored, and a mechanic should review the system right away.

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.

There is a Visible Crack and/or Corrosion on Your Radiator

It is recommended that everyone open up the hood of their car and look around every month. They should check their oil levels and signs of damaged wires, corrosion, rust, or other issues. You likely have a leak if you notice a visible crack on your radiator. 

Check the underside of the radiator and any nearby components that may have come into contact with radiator fluid. If you can see any signs of corrosion or discoloration, having a radiator repair specialist look at your ride is in your best interest.

Repeated Engine Overheating

If your engine starts overheating frequently, that's a sure sign something is going on with your radiator since it's the radiator that prevents the engine from getting too hot. 

But a radiator leak isn't the only issue that might cause engine overheating. 

Frequent overheating can also result from other issues, including:

● A damaged or nonfunctional water pump

● Faulty radiator fan

● Clogged, damaged, or detached coolant hoses

To find out exactly what's causing your vehicle to overheat repeatedly, you'll need to have a radiator repair specialist take a look. And if you do need extensive radiator repairs, it may be more cost-effective to buy a high-quality used radiator installed instead.

Visit Ace Auto Parts for a Quality Used Radiator Today! 

Worried your radiator is on the fritz? Let our team at Ace Auto Parts help you out! We stock high-quality used radiators and a wide variety of other used car parts, including radiator hoses, clamps, coolant reservoirs, and much more. 

Whether you're hunting for a quality used radiator or something else, feel free to use our parts search tool to see if we have it in stock. You can also call us at 651-717-4299 for more information or stop by our St. Paul location, and we'll get you taken care of!