Hi I thought I fixed some previous overheating problems but I only helped them. My car was running fine when it was 95F or so over the weekend but now it's 110F outside and my cars cooling system isn't keeping up.

My car is a 2004 Grand AM V6. The radiator was recently replaced with a salvaged one

Partial picture:

This is the bottom half of the radiator(the top half is difficult to photograph). Is that large row of bent fins possibly the reason it can't keep up? Other than that at the top of the radiator there are a few slightly bent lines. Also, isn't there suppose to be some kind of shield to prevent bugs and such from getting in my radiator? I took this picture outside of my car (the silver bit is the outside body of the car)

Is my radiator trash or is it worth trying to straighten the fins and see if it helps or is it not bad enough to have an effect?

  • 1
    My experience with Grand Ams is that the cooling system is inadequate. Even the 4-cyl models have trouble with high temperatures when it hits the upper 90's. In stop and go traffic I remember having to turn the heat on in order to keep the coolant temperature out of the red. I wish you luck, but you may have to consider upgrading to better than factory, not just restoring factory performance. :-( Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 22:16
  • What did you do that you thought took care of the issue? If you flushed and refilled the radiator, you could have created a blockage in the radiator if it didn't fully flush, gotten some air pockets trapped, refilled with improper coolant mix (should be 50/50 water/anti-freeze typically, more anti-freeze will make it not cool as well, more water will have a lower boiling point and may boil it out).
    – ManiacZX
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 5:47
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    Also, that may not be your radiator actually, it could be your A/C Condensor which looks just like a radiator but can be mounted in front of the radiator.
    – ManiacZX
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 5:48
  • @Mani could the condensor be the size of the entire radiator? this goes all the way up to the hood of my car. And I had nearly straight antifreeze in it. I didn't flush it, but I emptied the expansion tank twice and got it down to about 50/50 give or take.
    – Earlz
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 14:51
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    Anti-Freeze has poor thermal transfer properties compared to water so the straight anti-freeze would definitely be an issue. Getting 50/50 mix in your reservoir doesn't mean your system is at the proper ratio and you haven't flushed, so I'd agree with Rory and say flush it (with an actual flushing agent, not just empty and refill. The bottle will give you the steps but its essentially empty, run with flush, empty, run with water, empty, fill with 50/50).
    – ManiacZX
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 18:35

2 Answers 2


Just having a row of fins slightly bent shouldn't be that bad an issue - what percentage of the radiator is damaged like this? I don't think I have ever had a car with a protective grille in front of the radiator - usually the bugs kill themselves on the radiator fins.

What is possibly more likely is a build up of sludge in the radiator - an indicative check would be to check the fluid flow through the radiator, or just get it flushed through to see if it helps (relatively cheap and quick to do, so it can be worth doing)

Or possibly a faulty pump - worth checking.


to check fins for stoppage use a water hose while engine is running and normal temp--spray water onto radiator and watch to see which tubes do not evaporate hose water--tubes that are not stopped up will dry up quicker because hot water from engine is running though them while the stopped up ones will not evaporate--normally these are the lower part of radiator--

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