How to Protect Truck Radiator during Winter Season

Protect Truck Radiator during Winter Season

Each truck part plays a vital role in the functionality of the truck. Some parts have a bigger role to play in winter than in summer and vice versa. As per the United States Department of Transportation, the key reasons behind truck breakdowns are the failure of the truck radiator or other cooling system parts.

Being aware of the functionality of every part of your truck can enable you to protect the truck in harsh climatic conditions and help avoid breakdowns.

As a truck owner, you can carry out simple maintenance work to ensure its smooth working in rough winter conditions, which can otherwise take a toll on your truck and cause breakdowns.

Get to know how to ensure the optimal working condition of your truck during winter through this blog. Learn how to maintain your truck radiator to ensure your as well as other drivers’ safety on the road. Let’s begin!

Purpose of truck radiator

To begin with, it’s important to first understand the purpose and functionality of the truck radiator. Simply speaking, the truck radiator is a heat exchanger that works to cool internal combustion engines.

The truck radiator mechanism works in such a way that the coolant inside the radiator circulates through the truck engine block, absorbing the heat produced in the truck engine which otherwise would lead to overheating of the engine and extensive engine damage.

Engine coolant is either water-based or a mixture of water & antifreeze. The heat produced by pistons and other moving parts in the car engine is decreased by the truck radiator using:

  • Water
  • Antifreeze
  • Water-Antifreeze mixture

The liquid/coolant is circulated via a centrifugal pump named liquid or water pump. The water pump propels the heated water or the antifreeze out of the engine chambers & sends it back to the truck radiator for cooling it before it is sent back to the engine.

This process goes on continuously when the truck engine is in a working state . Failure of the truck radiator causes a stoppage in the process, resulting in overheating of the engine and subsequent damage.

Proper coolant mixture

It’s important that the radiator liquid/coolant is able to flow smoothly from the truck radiator to the engine and vice versa. In case the flow gets disrupted by some blockage in the radiator tubes, then the cooling process will get affected, and overheating of the engine will occur.

Hence, it’s vital that the coolant levels are adequately maintained because the coolant type is required to be with the proper mixture in accordance with the outdoor weather conditions.

Generally speaking, a normal coolant mixture comprises 50% water & 50% antifreeze but this applies to normal temperature conditions. In normal conditions, the purpose of the antifreeze is anti-corrosion while that of the water is reducing the temperature. Whereas in the winter season, the antifreeze plays the key role in maintaining the truck radiator performance

Thus it becomes important in the winter season to add more antifreeze in the coolant mixture so that it will provide lower freezing temperatures and protect the truck radiator and engine from damage.

Ideal coolant mixture ratios:

  1. In -34ºF temperature: 50% antifreeze with 50% water
  2. In -84ºF temperature: 70% antifreeze with 30% water

Having ideal proportions of antifreeze and water in the coolant mixture ensures:

  1. Optimal performance of the truck radiator
  2. Adequate temperature reducing
  3. Prevention of frizzed blockages in the system

Not using ideal proportions of water and antifreeze in the coolant mixture will result in freezing of the water, causing the expansion to get destroyed & blocking the engine, culminating in significant downtime & extra cost for repairs.

Warm up truck engine before driving

In the winter season, it’s crucial that you warm up the truck engine before driving because:

  1. Warming up the engine warms up other parts as well and enables them to work smoothly
  2. The engine oil is thicker in winter conditions and needs some time to warm up to drive optimal engine performance
  3. Warming up the engine prepares the radiator to perform at its best possible levels
  4. Cold weather conditions can affect the water pump productivity, resulting in it requiring more time to pump the liquid with its full capacity

Take it easy with the gas pedal early on

Regardless of whether you warm up your engine or not, make sure that you go easy on the pedal for the first 15 minutes to half an hour of driving, to avoid unnecessary truck radiator and engine issues.

Being a responsible truck owner involves taking care of your truck and its various parts including the truck radiator. Carrying out simple maintenance work from time-to-time and using the proper coolant mixture should keep your truck radiator protected not only during the winter but throughout the year.


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