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How to Tell If Your Radiator Is Cracked

by Louise Balle

A car radiator is often found underneath the hood. The radiator helps manage heat that develops under the hood when you're driving your car. It cools down hot coolant liquid that comes out of the engine. If your radiator is cracked, it may not operate correctly and could cause the car to overheat.

Step 1

Examine the front of the car to determine if the car was involved in any type of front-end collision of which you may or may not be aware. A front collision is a common cause of a cracked radiator, as the other car could have pushed in the front of the car and damaged the unit.

Step 2

Look at your car thermometer reading on the dashboard as a preliminary check. If you see the needle pointing to "H" for hot, this could be an indication that your radiator is cracked. If the radiator is not able to cool down the hot liquid coming from the engine due to damage, the thermometer moves to the "H" position.

Open the hood of your car to examine the radiator. If you see coolant leaking from the seams of the radiator, either on the side or top, it is an indication that it has cracks. Check the area where the radiator connects with the hose for cracks, as well. In the case of a significant crack, the coolant leaks profusely and drips from under the car.

Warning

  • If you notice leaking, a hot thermometer or smoke coming from your car, take it to the closest service center, immediately.

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