Troubleshooting Common Problems of the Chevrolet Cavalier Radiator
The Chevrolet Cavalier utilizes a heavy-duty radiator to keep its inline-four engine cool and prevent it from overheating, but the constant heat and stress will eventually take its toll. And once it starts to wear out, the radiator will start to exhibit a variety of problems which, if left unattended, can lead to serious damage to the engine. The following are some of the more common problems of the Chevrolet Cavalier radiator and how to deal with them.
Overheating is a frequent problem in any radiator and is usually due to a lack of sufficient coolant in the radiator. So if you see smoke coming out of the engine compartment or the temperature gauge in the dashboard is higher than normal, turn off the engine, pop open the hood and allow the engine to ventilate and cool down. Check if the auxiliary fans are running properly and the coolant hoses for leaks; a greenish or bluish fluid means that the hose is leaking somewhere and needs to be replaced. Check the exterior of the radiator as well for signs of rust, punctures and cracks in the epoxy. If the fans, hoses and the radiator appear to be in good condition, check the coolant reservoir to see if there's enough coolant circulating to and from the radiator and refill it if necessary.
The stock radiator in the Chevrolet Cavalier is made of carbon steel and is highly vulnerable to corrosion. If the radiator's is extremely rusted, replace it immediately even if it appears to be working fine. Also, check the color of the coolant inside the radiator; a brownish fluid indicates the radiator interior is heavily rusted and needs flushing.
Often occurring in the older first-generation model of the Cavalier, leaks are usually caused by punctures and other types of damage from flying stones and debris from the road or wear due to age. Leaks can also occur in the various seals and seams in the radiator, especially after several years of use. Make sure to check the radiator regularly for signs of leakage and have it repaired or replaced if necessary.