NAPA Auto Parts Sterling, VA
45449 Severn Way
Sterling,  VA  20166-8918
(703) 378-6666
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Car Radiators, Radiator Parts & Coolant Reservoirs

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What Is a Car Radiator and Why Is It Important?

The radiator is a key part of a vehicle's cooling system designed to stop the engine from overheating. As your engine runs, it burns fuel to power your vehicle, which produces a significant amount of heat. If the temperature of your engine rises above a certain point, it can cause serious damage that leads to costly repairs. Liquid coolant travels through the hoses from the radiator and through the engine to absorb excess engine heat, then back to the radiator, directing the heat out of the vehicle as it passes through a series of mechanisms.

The coolant (also known as antifreeze) reservoir is typically made of premium plastic engineered to withstand the heat from under the hood and engine vibration. You can find these reservoir containers pressurized, non-pressurized, universal in design, heavy-duty and in all shapes and sizes to fit your vehicle's make and model. The reservoir is often located near the radiator; you can find it by following the radiator's pipe. The coolant reservoir uses hoses to attach to the radiator and engine and is visible underneath the hood of your vehicle.

Other parts of the engine's radiator and cooling system include circulation hoses, a fan and a thermostat, which monitors the coolant temperature. NAPA experts can help you with all your car radiator replacement and repair needs. We carry a wide variety of parts such as radiator overflow repair kits, radiator supports, thermostat housing caps, radiator caps, thermostat fittings, radiator fans, antifreeze reservoir mounting plates, antifreeze reservoir tube repair kits, water pumps, antifreeze tube relocating kits and radiator hose extensions to cool the engine and keep it from overheating.

What Are the Signs That I Need to Replace My Radiator and Reservoir?

Thankfully, there are clear signs that indicate a need to replace your radiator and reservoir, such as your engine overheating while driving at low speeds and rust or physical damage to the radiator within your car, truck or SUV. The most common reason a vehicle overheats is due to coolant loss caused by a leak in the engine's coolant reservoir. The liquid coolant reservoir is a vital component of the cooling system as it stores the coolant fluid until required. A leak-free antifreeze reservoir is important because an overheating engine can build pressure within the radiator and cause severe damage if left unchecked. The indicators of a failing radiator or reservoir can also manifest as constantly low coolant levels, even if you don't notice outright leaking.

Additionally, if you or your local NAPA AutoCare Center technician sees an accumulation of thickened, brown or blackish sludge in the radiator that is not draining properly, then it is probably time to replace your vehicle's radiator parts. To clean out mucky buildup, consider using Liqui Moly radiator cleaner, a solution manufactured to disperse sludge deposits containing oil and lime plus ensures the engine runs reliably at the right temperature. It's suitable for use in all cooling waters systems in motor vehicles, including buses and commercial fleets. Liqui Moly is also compatible with antifreeze and is neural when in contact with rubber, plastics or acid, so it will not melt your radiator reservoir.

Many potential issues can cause overheating, including a cooling fan malfunction, a damaged heat exchanger or drain cock, a dysfunctional intercooler junction or a malfunctioning radiator grille shutter. If you're not an experienced DIY-er, it's a good idea to ask your local NAPA AutoCare Center about any poor heat circulation inside your vehicle's cabin as this could also reveal a faulty radiator that cannot circulate coolant properly, thus diminishing the amount of dispersed heat you feel in the vehicle.

If you're replacing your own vehicle radiator or radiator accessories, know that NAPAOnline has all the necessary parts to drain the cooling system, remove the old radiator, fit the new radiator to your vehicle, add a sturdy reservoir and refill with the best quality coolant. From radiator mounts and several different-sized coolant reservoirs to various reservoir caps, radiator brackets and much more, the NAPA Network has it all.

If it is a long time since you last had any vehicle maintenance done, you should make it a point to have the vehicle cooling reservoir flushed out and your radiator inspected for rust. When in doubt, take your vehicle to a local NAPA AutoCare Center near you where the experts will help keep your vehicle's cooling system up to snuff. NAPA AUTO PARTS also offers NAPA Rewards, which gives you One Point for every $1 you spend. Sign up today and save!