It is estimated that each year more than 20,000 kangaroos collide with cars and one car manufacturer is looking to develop technology to predict kangaroo behaviour in an effort to reduce this high number. However, as someone who has just been on the receiving end of a vehicular encounter with a kangaroo, your more immediate problem is the damage done to your car. Some engine damage won't be immediately seen, and one of the most important parts of your engine that you must check before you drive any further is your radiator. These tips will help you determine whether your radiator came off second-best the day you had an up-close encounter with a kangaroo.
Why Check The Radiator?
A male red kangaroo can weight up to 90 kg, so it is a sizeable impact when you hit one at motorway speed. Because the radiator is located immediately behind the front of the grill, and it is in front of the engine, it is the first major working part of your engine to feel the impact of a kangaroo strike.
After you have stopped your vehicle after the accident, have a look at the front mesh grill that lets air into the engine compartment. If it shows signs of damage, then there is a good chance your radiator has sustained damage too.
Immediately After The Impact
Immediately after the impact, you must inspect your radiator to see whether it has sustained any visible damage. This inspection will determine whether you can continue to drive the car or if you should get it towed. There are three main parts of the radiator you must check:
- The radiator itself. The biggest clue your radiator is no longer in a driveable state is if there is a large pool of hot fluid sitting underneath it. This means the impact pierced the radiator and it is no longer retaining the coolant and water required to keep your engine from overheating.
- Look at the base of the radiator for any signs of damage to the mounting bracket that holds the radiator in place. If you can see a visible snap in the bracket, the radiator could move while the vehicle is moving and this movement can twist the radiator. If it wasn't damaged before, it soon will be if the bracket is not holding it correctly in place.
- Inspect the cooling fan that sits in front of the radiator to keep the temperature down. If this has been pushed into the radiator, both the fan and radiator will need attention before you drive the car again.
If you cannot see any immediate signs of radiator damage, and the car is still driveable, you can continue on your journey, but you should do another inspection a week after the accident.
One Week After The Impact
Once you have driven the car for a week after your impact with the kangaroo, take the time to do another inspection of the radiator and the coolant fluid level.
The main reason for this is that while damage may not have been immediately visible after the impact, you will have noticed in the week following whether your radiator now has a slow leak of fluids. Check the area where you normally park the car overnight to see if there are any signs of fresh fluid on the ground. Next, open up the radiator cap to check the radiator is still filled with liquid to the 'maximum' level indicator. If the fluid level is lower than what it was at the time of the accident, you may have a slow leak occurring.
If you have any concerns at all about the condition of your radiator after kangaroo impact, take your vehicle to a mechanic for inspection. Once you do, you can be rest assured your radiator is up for the job of cooling your engine on your driving ventures ahead. Contact to your local radiator shop for more help!