Why it’s actually extremely dangerous to wash car radiators
We are constantly told that car radiators must be cleaned of dirt, otherwise there will be no problems with the engine or automatic transmission. But not all washes are equally useful. What kind of breakdowns can be caused by such water procedures.
There can be several radiators in a car – automatic transmission, charge air cooler, air conditioner condenser and finally, a radiator of engine cooling, which is installed last. That is it is blown with an oncoming stream worse than all others. Because of this, they arrange “washer-dryer”.
However, it is necessary to clean radiators, otherwise there will be no trouble. The first thing to consider is the water pressure. If the jet is very strong, it will bend the honeycomb of several radiators at once. And it will make their blowing even more difficult. As a result, they will not cool better. On the contrary, the heat exchange will become worse, and you will not be far from overheating.
And in the worst case, say, if the radiator is old, the jet will just blow through it. And then the expensive spare part will have to be replaced or a sealant will have to be filled in a cooling system. By the way, if the leak is big, the sealant will not help.
One more nuance. If the car has no air conditioner, its cooling radiator, as a rule, can be washed without removing it from the car. This is convenient, but you need to consider that the wash will get dirt on engine parts like the drive belt, alternator, high-voltage wires and spark plugs. The electric motor of a cooling fan can be easily flooded with water too. Therefore, do not aim a garden hose directly at it.
And to prevent mud from getting into the engine compartment, it would be nice to put a screen of polyethylene film behind the radiator. It will block the way of water and dirt to the engine.
By the way, the engine radiator gets clogged with dirt not only from outside, but also from inside. It accumulates rust and scale particles, as well as oxidation products of aluminum parts. If you do not watch out for this, overheating of the engine is possible, especially in the summer heat. That is why, keep an eye on the dates of antifreeze and transmission fluid replacement. If the run of the car approaches 60,000 km, it does not hurt to renew them with obligatory flushing of the system.
These works are usually performed simultaneously with external parts cleaning, which includes radiator removal. Note that it is not necessary to use harsh chemicals for removal of caked up dirt, otherwise it will pierce aluminum radiator tubes and thin heat-removing plates. You should not use too stiff brushes, which will bend radiator plates. It is better to use regular car shampoo and a medium-hard brush.
The topic of a separate conversation is the heat exchanger of the engine turbocharger system, or as it is often called, the intercooler. This type of radiator, due to the design features of the system itself, in the engine compartment is often located horizontally. It is clear that in such position its honeycomb clings on itself much more various dirt getting under a hood.
It is especially noticeable in summer when poplitee fluff gets there, and it provokes malfunction of the intercooler. The down mixed with oily dirt creates its reinforcing mixture. It tightly clogs the outer channels of the radiator cells, due to which the heat dissipation immediately deteriorates. As a result, the engine power drops noticeably. To fix the problem, it is necessary to turn to masters, which costs a pretty penny.
However, there is an alternative, and very inexpensive option of radiators cleaning, offered by the German company Liqui Moly. It has developed the original aerosol composition Kuhler Aussenreiniger. The product has a high penetrating ability, allowing you to effectively act on the oily dirt. After just a few minutes of treatment, it is already peeling from the outer surfaces of the radiator cells and is then easily removed even with a weak water pressure. The product is, by the way, suitable for cleaning both intercoolers and other types of car radiators.