Partners in Vehicle Cooling Service

Partners in Vehicle Cooling Service

The Link between Vehicle Cooling Service and Design 

More and more, we encounter vehicle radiators in the marketplace built clearly with disposability in mind.  These economy-grade units are attractive for their low upfront price, but can come with a laundry list of issues and added costs over their lifespan, not to mention low performance and high environmental impacts.  As a vehicle cooling component manufacturer and service provider, our opinion here at Cincinnati Radiator is that making a long-term investment in high quality, resilient, repairable cooling systems is well worth the cost over the life of your vehicle.  We prove this belief on an almost daily basis, as we consistently see lower frequency, complexity, and cost of services performed for customers relying on cooling systems of our design.  How can that be?  We're glad you asked!  

There is a strong link connecting the design of a vehicle radiator or heat exchanger and that vehicle's need for service work performed down the road.  A few of the most important factors are:

1. Maintainable Construction - our units are designed from scratch with a core objective of being maintainable and repairable well into the future.  Our heat exchangers are designed in a modular fashion, such that a high-wear portion can be independently removed, repaired, reinserted, or replaced while other surrounding portions remain intact.  

2. Durable - simply put, our units are tough.  We specify material alloys, thicknesses, braze and weld connections, and structural reinforcement details with longevity in mind.  Since we service our own units sold into vehicle and equipment applications of all types, we do not want to see these units back in the shop for embarrassing issues or failures due to low-grade construction.  

3. Quality Control - to ensure that we hit the above two points with every cooling system component sold, we employ an extensive quality control and management process that checks both construction and fluid performance before units ship out.  We're also firm believers in maintaining complete documentation, making sure customers receive detailed records of their components so that future troubleshooting and service can be performed with ease.  

Keeping Vehicle & Equipment Cooling Systems in Top Shape 

Many readers will be familiar with common vehicle radiator services such as coolant flushes, pressure tests, and fin inspections.  When we think about such services in the wider context of heavy equipment, industrial machinery, and other systems besides vehicles, it might be difficult to understand exactly when or how to apply these services appropriately.  For this reason, let’s take a quick run through the cooling system concerns that such services address, and how those concerns tie back to system design.  

  • Corrosion – coolant system flushes and filtering mainly look to remove rust, flakes, and debris caused by corrosion.  This debris accumulates in the coolant and inhibits cooling performance, both by plugging radiators and engine coolant channels, as well as by building up on surfaces and reducing their thermal dissipation potential.  Corrosion can be combated at the design stage through the proper selection of materials, by checking coolant and temperature compatibility, and by utilizing anti-corrosion coatings and inhibitors where appropriate.   
  • Fluid Loss – leaks are a major issue in cooling systems, as engine cooling cannot occur if there is not enough coolant in the system to absorb and transport heat away to the radiator.  Leaks can be caused by both internal or external factors, such as excessive system pressure or abrasive wear respectively.  Radiator tubes, hoses, and pump seals tend to be the most common leak points (found during pressure checks and core inspections), and can be addressed by applying protective heresite or powder coatings, efficient hose attachments, and system isolators in the initial design.  In addition, radiators should be designed with resilient braze and weld connections that will resist stress failure over time.  
  • Vapor Lock – cooling systems can experience vapor lock if too much air is allowed into the system, and that system pressure is not maintained to resist coolant flashing off to steam vapor.  This creates a pocket of vapor in the fluid circuit that will ‘stall out’ coolant recirculation, leading to overheating.  Proper deaeration measures are imperative to avoid vapor lock.
  • Insufficient Cooling – systems with restricted coolant flow, restricted air flow and core clogging can result in poor cooling, leading to engine overheating.  Most often, this occurs when components age and decline in performance, or when operating conditions jump beyond recommended limits.  Early in design, systems must be engineered to ace with --> Propeperform across the full range of conditions they may encounter, with added safety factor on top of that to account for age-related loss as well as incidental extreme situations.  

How True Cooling System Partners Support your Fleet

As you might infer from the above, our belief is that cooling system service should never stem from avoidable, sub-par design or construction failures.  Service work instead should focus on maintaining system performance, health, and integrity, as well as critical situation response that gets our customers back into operation as fast and safely as possible.  This perspective forms the foundation of our service department's approach to supporting our customers, acting as true partners instead of as a one-off job shop in the following ways (and more!):  

  • Preventative Maintenance - we believe that all vehicle systems (not just cooling systems) should receive routine preventative maintenance services at regular intervals, addressing known concern points before they become emergencies (such as seals, elastomers, attachment points, hose connections, and thermostats).
  • Order Expediency - we understand that radiators, heat exchangers, charge air coolers, and intercoolers can be mission-critical components that you need in order to operate, which is why we pride ourselves on best-in-class lead times. 
  • Disaster Recovery - we specialize in helping customers recover from unexpected situations with dedicated attention and rapid solution development.  We can reverse engineer failed cooling components, design and build exact (if not improved) replacements, and perform all types of custom fabrication necessary to get your equipment back into service.  
  • Extension of Your Shop - like any true partner, we act as an extension of your shop in multiple capacities.  Many of our fleet customers will send vehicles to us to perform cooling system service in our shop on their behalf, as well as have us tackle additional services, when they're too busy to address themselves.  
  • Value-Adding Services - our team strives to help, even outside of the cooling arena.  We assist customers with a wide array of value-adding services, including building custom fuel tanks, filter cleaning, laser cutting, diesel tank reconditioning, and diesel oxidation catalyst installation.  

Mission-critical vehicles and equipment in over a dozen infrastructure sectors rely on heat transfer components manufactured by Cincinnati Radiator. CR works directly with Original Equipment Manufacturers and Aftermarket service channels to supply premium-grade, long life radiators, coolers, and full cooling packages into extreme applications all over the world.  With our expanding inventory and fabrication space at our Fairfield, Ohio facility, we pride ourselves on having a personal touch, ultra-fast lead times, and one-off custom design capabilities.  

For your next vehicle or heavy equipment heat transfer project, call us at (513) 874-5555, email us at, or visit our website at

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