How Long Can You Drive with A Cracked Radiator?

This article may contain affiliate links. For details, visit our Affiliate Disclosure page.

How Long Can You Drive with A Cracked Radiator?

How long can you drive with a cracked radiator? Are you looking to fix your cracked radiator? This article will help you answer these questions!

The radiator in a car is an essential part of the engine cooling system. The engine operates the car by inducing combustion inside the combustion chamber and causing a great deal of friction. It results in a lot of heat inside the engine.

If this heat is not transferred to another place to cool the engine while running, the engine will overheat, which will damage the engine. The radiator is one of the parts of the engine’s multi-part cooling system, along with lubricants that help reduce friction. 

Then this heat goes out through the exhaust system. So, how long can you go with the broken radiator? How can you handle this problem? Please continue to follow this article!

Functions of The Car Radiator

The radiator carries a large rectangular structure. It can be made of metal or plastic. The car radiator is usually installed under the hood of the car. When your car is operated to a certain extent, it can overheat. The high temperature will adversely affect your car. At this point, the radiator is the savior of this problem.

There is a coolant in the radiators. This coolant passes through the engine block and gradually absorbs the high heat generated by burning the fuel. Once the heat is absorbed, the coolant passes through the radiator and cools again.

How Long Can A Car with A Cracked Radiator Last?

Do many people wonder if driving a car with a broken radiator affects the engine and the driver’s safety? So, the answer is absolutely no.

The reality is that your car can still go a long way with a broken radiator. However, you still have to fix it for safety. When you drive with cracked radiators for a long time, it can affect your engine. A car’s engine could malfunction or become hot and catch fire.

Not only is the piston broken, but other engine damage can also result if your car gets too hot:

  • Increased heat and vibrations in the engine lead to damaged rotating parts.
  • Underneath the piston wall may form carbon
  • Deformed into cylinders causes the lubrication to fail.

Signs of A Cracked Radiator

A cracked radiator will be visible through several hallmarks. Naturally, these signs will become more and more evident if the leak progressively increases. You can also easily observe some of the following signs:

Coolant Leak

Coolant is usually a red or green liquid. When you see a puddle of this color under your car, you probably know that your car’s radiator is cracked.

Engine Overheats

As mentioned above, the radiator cools the engine and minimizes the amount of heat applied. You see everything in good condition, but your engine is too hot, then you should immediately check the radiator. It is a clear indication. 

Even while you are driving, pull over, and stop. Please check immediately, so it does not affect the engine too much.

Coolant Needs to be Refilled Regularly

The driver must regularly fill the coolant. If you find your car is continuously filling, it means the radiator has a problem. It’s also a clear indication of a cracked radiator.

The Cause of The Cracked Radiator 

After you have learned a few ways to tell if your radiator is cracked, you should also determine why it causes this. It helps you clearly understand the cause of the problem and helps you prevent it later. Here are some of the causes of a cracked radiator:

  • Thermostat error occurred: The thermostat monitors the motor temperature. It determines whether the system should drain the coolant or not. Therefore, you can easily understand the consequences of a faulty thermostat. 

When the thermostat has a problem, too much coolant will be put into the radiator. From there, the radiator suffers from tremendous excess pressure and cracks.

  • The leak of a gasket: If the gasket in your car is faulty or leaking, it will cause the radiator’s overheating. Naturally, the main consequence is cracking the radiator. Also, the exhaust gases can get mixed up with the radiator coolant.
  • Weather effects: Weather too hot or too cold also directly affects the cooling function of the radiator. If it gets too hot, the radiator will have to work at its full capacity to ensure the engine stays cool. 

The low content of coolant leads to cracking and deforming the radiator. However, icy weather can freeze the radiator liquid and cause cracks due to expansion.

How to Fix Cracked Radiator

Metal Radiators

For cracked metal radiators, you will have to re-seal the leak. You can use a gas torch or a torch to repair cracks. In case the leak is too massive, welding will no longer be practical. At this point, you will have to replace a new radiator.

Plastic Radiators

The cost of repairing plastic radiators is much cheaper than metal radiators. When you find that your plastic radiator is cracked, you can seal the leak by spraying it with adhesive. Make sure this glue is a mixture of epoxy and JB soldering material.

Another way is to go to a car store and choose to buy ready-made accessories. You can use it to repair cracks in the radiator. But if the damage is too heavy, you must replace it.

Final Thoughts

For the car to function effectively with long service life, you should check it regularly. In particular, the radiator is an essential element of any car. Take good care of your radiator as it has a massive effect on the car. 

Hopefully, through this article, you can understand more about the radiator and answer the question: “How long can you drive with a cracked radiator?”