When the engine in your Acura runs, it puts out some serious heat. Too much heat, and it can overheat, most often shutting down afterward. Coolant (most call it antifreeze) absorbs much of the heat; your radiator dissipates it. How radiators work is a simple process.
First, your antifreeze flows through radiator hoses -- an inlet hose and an outlet hose, specifically. Your radiator cap pressurizes the fluid as it travels. This helps it accumulate as much heat as it can. Then, flat, fin-style aluminum tubes expel that heat, while a fan disperses it into the air.
Some radiators have extra fins, however, called turbulators. They help scatter engine heat even better. If your radiator has tanks mounted on its sides, though, they're called transmission coolers. What they do is transfer the excess heat produced during transmission operation to the antifreeze instead of releasing it into the air. This helps a transmission work better.
Unfortunately, any radiator can develop problems, owing to old age and use. Luckily, though, there are signs you can look for to tell you that your radiator is failing or has gone bad. They include:
- Strange engine noises
- A sweet, syrupy odor (ethylene glycol, indicative of a coolant leak)
- Discolored, gunky, or leaking antifreeze
- Abnormally high readings on your vehicle's temperature gauge
- Car HVAC malfunctions
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