Clogged Radiator Symptoms

by Frank Dailey

Clogged radiators are responsible for a multitude of potentially dangerous engine problems. Repairs of clogged coolant systems should be done as soon as possible to prevent serious and sometimes irreversible engine damage.


Engine overheating is the main symptom of a clogged radiator. The water pump is unable to properly circulate coolant through the engine block and back to the radiator due to blocked tubes in the radiator.

Interior Heating

Interior heating of the vehicle may take longer to reach a desirable temperature if the heater core radiator is clogged. The clog may be keeping engine coolant from passing through the core to allow heat into the vehicle.


Clogged radiators could develop corrosion within the cooling fins or housing, which will cause visible coolant leaks. These leaks may worsen with time and permanently damage the radiator.

Water Pump

Clogged radiators and associated coolant system parts can cause the water pump to malfunction. A failed water pump will not circulate coolant properly and will sometimes leak, leading to more engine damage.

Head Gasket

Poor coolant circulation due to a clogged radiator will result in overheating and cause the engine head gasket to fail. This allows coolant to enter the engine oil compartment and cause major engine damage.

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