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The real rap on your radiator

A radiator has 2 tanks, one containing the inlet and one containing the outlet. These tanks, which can be at the top and bottom or sides, are usually made of aluminum, brass, copper, or plastic (most newer vehicles use the plastic type). On most vehicles with automatic transmissions, one of the tanks contains an automatic transmission fluid cooler which is connected to the transmission by metal lines or pipes.
The radiator’s two tanks have a series of flattened tubes that are connected to, and run between them. Attached between the tubes are accordion-style cooling fins. The tubes and fins are also usually made of aluminum, brass, or copper. As the hot coolant flows through the radiator tubes, heat is transferred to the fins then dissipated to the cooler air outside the vehicle.
What can go wrong with my car’s radiator?
There are usually only two problems that occur with radiators or heater cores: leakage from a seam or hole in one of the tubes, or internal blockage.
Blockage in the cooling system most often occurs due to poor or infrequent maintenance. This illustrates the importance of following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations concerning cooling system service intervals. A blockage often requires replacement of a radiator, although some can be cleared. Radiators must also be kept clear externally of leaves and other debris. Of course, radiators can be, and often are, damaged because of a front-end collision.
Many times, radiator leaks can be repaired, but these days, leaking radiators are more often just replaced with new ones. Replacement is usually the more cost-effective repair, especially in the long run.
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.                                   
You can E-mail us at or visit to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society repair shop in your area. Visit to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.
Thanks to Mobile Air Conditioning Society member David Razzi of Razzi’s Auto Rad and A/C for posing for this photo at his service and repair shop in Glenside, PA.
David has been a MACS member for 21 years!

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