What are common radiator noises and what causes them?


Quick Answer

A car's radiator can make a variety of noises , such as hissing, screeching and clanking. These noises can arise from different causes. The seven most common car radiator repairs are for a failed thermostat, leaky radiator hose, air in the cooling system, radiator leak, failed water pump, cooling system obstructions and a failed radiator fan.

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Full Answer

Hissing is the most common noise and often comes from a leaky radiator hose. The hoses link the radiator to the engine to allow coolant to flow through. These hoses need to be replaced periodically because the older they get, the more they become prone to failure.

Radiator problems are commonly associated with a cloud of steam coming from under the hood. This cloud of steam is caused by the heat and pressure inside of the cooling system. The radiator is a key part of this cooling system but is often not the sole cause of the malfunction, although it might be a contributing factor.

When a car overheats, a failed thermostat is most likely the problem. The thermostat controls how much coolant goes into and out of the radiator, which helps the engine operate at the best temperature.

If air is trapped in the cooling system, the flow of the coolant is obstructed, and the engine becomes too hot.

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