Over time, car radiators age. As they age, a variety of issues can arise signaling to the car owner that it is time to replace the radiator. Radiators can sustain damage that is irreparable, and this will also result in the need to replace the radiator. It can be necessary to replace the radiator in order to prevent multiple future breakdowns.
Old radiators can develop cracks and pin holes.
Radiators are made of metal. Almost all metal ages and weakens due to oxidation. As the metal in your radiator weakens, it becomes susceptible to decay and failure. The constant heating up and cooling down of the radiator causes the same stress on the metal as bending a piece of wire back and forth in the same area on the wire. It will eventually break. In the care of your care radiator, the break is a crack along a tube that drains the coolant from the top to the bottom of the radiator. Under pressure a great deal of coolant can be lost very quickly.
Pin holes are created by oxidation of the metal in the radiator.
Everyone is familiar with rust that forms on unprotected iron. This is oxidation. Oxidation is a corrosion that erodes the amount of metal available. As time passes, more and more of the metal oxidizes until small openings or pin holes start to appear. The high pressure inside the hot cooling system of the car will spray coolant though these tiny pores as you drive. Stop leak and other home remedies can slow the leaks for a while. The only real permanent fix is to replace the radiator.
A badly clogged radiator can need replacement.
Radiators can get clogged or blocked in two or three ways. Debris from inside hoses or the water pump can break loose and lodge in the radiator core. The accumulation of this material over a few years will reduce the cooling efficiency of the car radiator. Likewise, small amounts of oxidation residue can join the party and increase the chances of the car overheating. If stop leak is added to this mix, flushing the radiator and cooling system will probably not product effective results. A radiator replace is the only sure option.
Damage to the front end of a vehicle often results in radiator problems.
If a collision of any type creates significant movement of the car's front end materials, the radiator will be affected. Older radiators can even be damaged by the jolt of the impact. In older cars, the radiator may be forced backward onto the metal blades of the cooling fan. This can create immediate and extensive radiator damage. In newer cars, the radiator is cooled by an electric fan that will have little effect on the metal car radiator. However, pieces of the material from the front of the car can still impact the radiator core. The crash can bend or crack the unit. Any of these types of issues can be enough to force the need for a radiator replacement.