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Westbury Toyota mechanic checking a radiator on Long Island, NY.

What to Do If Your Radiator Springs a Leak

Posted at Fri, Aug 6, 2021 9:00 AM

An overheating engine is one of the worst type of breakdowns a Long Island driver can have during the hot summer months. In order to avoid this unfortunate scenario, it is important to make sure your Toyota’s radiator is always functioning the way it should be. Simply put, the radiator removes heat from the engine, cools it, and then feeds the cooled air back into the engine to keep it from overheating. If the radiator springs a leak, it can affect its ability to cool the engine. A leaking radiator does not have to be a disaster as long as you know what to do, and in order to help you identify common radiator problems and learn the appropriate responses, our Westbury Toyota experts have written up a short guide.

Malfunctioning Water Pump and/or Thermostat

The radiator in your Toyota works in tandem with the thermostat and water pump. Should one of these parts stop functioning properly, it could lead to a problem with your engine. A malfunctioning thermostat will likely lead to two things: It may get stuck open and prohibit your engine from reaching its regular operating temperature, or it may get stuck closed, which will lead to coolant not being released when it needs to be. Either of these problems is cause for concern. If the radiator cannot do its job, the engine and other crucial parts of your vehicle may sustain damage that requires expensive repairs.

If you suspect the thermostat or water pump to be the problem, it is important to book your car in for an inspection and repairs as quickly as you can.

A Build Up of Sludge

Like any other car part that circulates liquid, the radiator is subject to a buildup of debris, mineral deposits, and other material. Once this stuff builds up too much, it can clog the radiator and limit the distribution of coolant. Sludge can affect your Toyota’s cabin heating and even result in the engine overheating. If this is the problem with your vehicle’s radiator, the best thing to do is get the cooling system inspected and also have the coolant exchanged.

Internal Radiator Rusting

Internal rusting is a common problem with radiators due to the presence of liquids, metal, and an electrical current. It is the perfect storm for not only rust but oxidation and corrosion. Rusting will gradually result in holes, which in turn can lead to coolant leaks and radiator issues. A rusting radiator is a problem more commonly seen in colder temperatures, so our Long Island winters will definitely contribute to that.

Road salt is another winter factor that can lead to radiator rust, so to combat that it is recommended that you have your vehicle's radiator inspected more often. You can also inspect it yourself for any indication of rust, which is done by looking at the coolant. If it is tinted with red or brown, it is typically a sign of rust and it means that it is time to book your Toyota in with a trained technician.

Coolant Leak

A coolant leak is usually identified by a puddle of brightly colored fluid underneath your vehicle. A leak can be cause by a couple of things, such as corrosion of the hoses and the radiator itself. Natural deterioration over time is also a factor, along with unusual excessive pressure. If you spot leaking coolant, you should make an appointment for your vehicle right away as the coolant is vital to keeping your Toyota's engine operating at recommended temperatures.

Get to the Root of the Leak As Soon As Possible

A coolant leak has the potential to wreak havoc on your Toyota's engine, so it is ill-advised to ignore or downplay the problem. Take the time to make a thorough inspection if you are able to identify the problem on your own and if you are not, please be sure to call us here at Westbury Toyota to book your vehicle in with one of your experienced professionals.

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