What Radiators Do
They're heatsinks. In other words, they help keep the engine in your Audi from overheating.
How a Radiator Works
In short, it uses coolant (antifreeze) to absorb the excess heat generated as your engine runs. Plus, it helps scatter the heat. The process is simple.
First, antifreeze flows through radiator hoses – inlet and outlet hoses, to be exact. The fluid gets pressurized by a radiator cap along the way. As it travels, it captures as much heat as it can. Then, flat, fin-style aluminum tubes expel the heat, with help from a fan to dispel it.
Some radiators have extra fins, called turbulators. They dissipate heat even better. Others have side-mounted tanks, called transmission coolers. They transfer the heat of transmission operation to the coolant.
Signs of Radiator Problems
Unfortunately, a radiator can go bad and even fail, but luckily, there are symptoms that'll tell you that's happening. They include:
- Strange engine noises
- A temperature gauge that reads unusually high
- The sweet, syrupy odor of ethylene glycol (indicating a coolant leak)
- Dirty or sludgy antifreeze
- Coolant leaks
- Heater and air conditioning malfunctions
To figure out what could be causing these problems, perform a thorough inspection.
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