Whether your vehicle is pretty new or it's several years old, it is always a good idea to keep an eye out for signs that your radiator needs to be repaired. Here are a few important signs to look for.

You're Noticing Leaks

As vehicles age, they tend to leak fluids here and there, leaving behind stains on the ground as time goes on. So it isn't uncommon to notice some buildup in your driveway and garage where your vehicle tends to sit parked whenever it's not being used. But there are some leakage signs to look for that could mean it's time to have your radiator repaired before you start experiencing serious performance problems.

If your radiator or the hoses that are connected to it have leaks, you will notice green liquid dripping on the ground both while the car is running and when it is parked. Radiator coolant is sweet-smelling and isn't thick like oil leaks are. If you think you're leaking coolant, it's a good idea to take your vehicle in for a radiator inspection and repairs if necessary.

Coolant Levels or Colors Are Off

Your radiator relies on proper coolant levels in order to do its job, so if the coolant levels are off, your radiator will have a hard time performing, which would result in it breaking down due to unnecessary wear and tear. Keep an eye on the coolant indicator on your dashboard. If the indicator keeps turning on even after you fill the engine with coolant, you may have a radiator problem on your hands.

You should inspect the actual coolant that you put into your vehicle after a few days to make sure that it's still the same color as it was when you put it in. Coolant is typically green in color, but it could be yellow or red depending on the type and brand you're using. If the coolant has become dark in color or looks like it has sludge in it, contaminants in the radiator are probably leaking into it because the radiator is malfunctioning.

The Engine Is Warming Up Too Much

Overheating is another sign that your radiator needs repairs. However the overheating may not be obvious or result in the engine light coming on. If you are idle at a stop light or while sitting in a parking space, you may see the temperature gauge rise a little or smell the heat actually building up in under the hood. Once you start driving again, the heat may dissipate. But that doesn't mean that all is well. It's important to have your radiator looked at if you notice any sign of overheating at all.

To learn more, contact a resource like Flint Bumper Mart.