Radiator Burst While Driving – Explore The Causes And Solutions

The radiator is of paramount importance to an automobile in cooling its engine. However, there are some problems related to this device, especially the radiator burst while driving.

In this article, you will learn how to determine its culprits and viable remedies to avert. Stay tuned!

What Is A Radiator?

Radiator Burst While Driving

A radiator is a heat-exchanging system, converting thermal energy between different mediums with the prospect of cooling the internal engine.

Regarding its components, a radiator includes a liquid coolant, a water pump, fans, rubber hoses, and a thermostat.

The flow of coolant moves through the radiator hoses and engine, which absorbs excess heat generated by the fuel-burning process.

Subsequently, when it returns to the radiator, metal fins are ready to release heat to the outside.

A grille is also equipped as an outlet for the cool air to flow inside the car. And all of these activities cannot happen without fans directly attached to a radiator.

Once the coolant passes through the radiator, it recirculates and travels through hoses and other motor parts again.

This cycle will continue endlessly to eliminate excess heat from the engine, protecting your car from wear and tear.

What Causes A Radiator To Burst?

What Causes A Radiator To Burst

Below are the underlying roots of the exploding radiator, including a broken radiator tank, water leakage, a leaking head gasket, a faulty radiator cap, radiator corrosion, a clogged issue, and a defective thermostat.

Damaged Radiator Tank

A broken coolant reservoir primarily causes the bursting problem.

The reason is that this storage device is frequently subjected to excessive heat stemming from the internal engine. Over time, it will likely become less efficient and durable.

Cracks may follow as a result, and until cracks are too large to hold, your radiator will blow up.

Besides, if your car encounters some physical hurdles on the road, such as rocks, they can damage the expansion tank as well.

Water Leakage Leading To Overheating

This is one of the most common culprits, indicated by a leak in the cooling system. In this situation, the heat inside your automobile will mount gradually, giving rise to the overheating problem.

After a while, pressures burdened on your car engine will accumulate, which has repercussions for the radiator tank. Eventually, your radiator may end up exploding.

Leaking Head Gasket

A head gasket (don’t mistake head gaskets for valve cover gaskets) is invented to provide the seal between the engine block and cylinder and stop the engine oil from entering cylinder heads.

You can easily spot coolant puddles underneath your car framework when it leaks.

Consequently, the coolant levels show a sign of reduction. Due to this, your radiator may undergo an overheating issue, and as mentioned earlier, the bursting scenario can totally happen.

Other indicators of a leaking gasket can be enumerated, such as white smoke deriving from your vehicle’s exhaust manifold or a harsh smell when you disengage the clutch.

Defective Radiator Cap

The radiator cap is responsible for controlling the pressure level in an automobile’s cooling system.

In other words, it will prevent the pressure from increasing too much and letting an appropriate amount out from the radiator.

Therefore, the cap’s capacity may be affected once it gets damaged.

More specifically, it is unable to manage the pressure properly. Your radiator tank can be pressured excessively, forcing it to break apart.

Other symptoms you should pay attention to include leaking coolant, an insufficient amount of cooling liquid or a full coolant reservoir, etc.

Radiator Corrosion

Most radiators are made of metal, so they cannot avoid being susceptible to rusting, which can be boiled down to their interaction with water droplets in the air.

This phenomenon wreaks great havoc on the radiator by deteriorating its properties and functions.

Several cracks will be formed on its surface, especially when the coolant leaks outside, resulting in overheating and eventual bursting.

The Clogged Issue

Over a period of time, your radiator may be clogged with dirt, lime, or chemical build-ups. Due to these hindrances, the coolant flow is apt to be blocked amid its route.

Accordingly, various motor parts are not cooled promptly and start to generate excess heat. If this issue persists, the radiator will blow up soon, followed by severe engine damage.

Faulty Thermostat

A thermostat is a regulating device that helps sense and maintain your car’s temperature within a set threshold.

It is often under the control of a powertrain module station (so-called PCM), which will send signals to it when detecting something abnormal with your vehicle.

If a thermostat is unable to operate well, the temperature reading is not accurate.

Hence, when combustion engines heat up to a great extent, the PCM cannot figure out this trouble. Consequent is the overheating problem, causing your radiator to disintegrate.

How To Solve The Problem Of Radiator Burst While Driving?

The solutions may vary greatly, addressing each of the factors listed above. Let’s figure them out:

  1. If your radiator tank is cracked or wears away, it is strongly recommended that you replace it immediately to prevent a bursting accident from arising. Remember to purchase a new one from a reliable automotive store, as the fake product will exacerbate the situation.
  2. If your problem is rooted in the water leak, the easiest method is to turn the engine off as soon as possible and park your vehicle in the shade so that the excess heat will vent.

Yet this solution is temporary and does not resolve the problem radically. Instead, you are advised to inspect your coolant and change it every 30,000 miles frequently.

  1. Under a few circumstances, when your blown radiator stems from a leaking head gasket, you should fix it right away by getting a professional mechanic to seal the leakage or tow your car to the local garage workshop for maintenance.

Nevertheless, the gasket replacement is quite expensive and may cost you a huge sum of money.

You could alternatively repair it at home by using the leak repair fluid. But you need to wear protective garments and equipment when executing this process.

  1. You should also make a replacement of your radiator cap if it is on the fritz. Hundreds of potential problems apart from bursting will likely occur when you don’t take necessary actions promptly.
  2. Corrosion is a natural phenomenon, so you cannot completely eradicate this issue. However, there are some effective methods you could try.

You need to pay careful attention to the radiator pipework and replace it instantly when you know it is worn out. Remove the core crust as well with the help of white vinegar.

  1. Clogging is also a common factor, and you could handle this problem by wiping your radiator thoroughly.
    Pour some drops of dishwasher soap to warm water and use a sponge to clean its interior and exterior parts.

Subsequently, dry it right away because your radiator can be easily prone to corrosion due to a small amount of water left.

  1. In case a failed thermostat takes charge of the bursting accident, it would be best to buy a new one.
    Don’t fix it on your own since this practice requires a load of mechanical and automotive know-how and experience.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, after this helpful guide, you can pinpoint the causes behind the radiator burst while driving. Also, we cover 7 possible solutions to such a case to help you know how to combat it efficiently.

Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!

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