Not just skin deep

By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine

You’ve just received your new radiator and are about to begin the removal and replacement on your customer’s vehicle. Pulling the shiny new unit out of the box, you look it over and read the installation instructions. Everything looks “Go” and you’re ready to begin installation. Great!

But what if you open the box and some of the radiator fins look like they’re going in the opposite direction? Or there appear to be brazing marks on the front of the radiator? What is cosmetically acceptable and what should be rejected?

The heating and cooling engineers at MACS Member Delphi Product & Service Solutions recently developed a picture guide to inspecting your new radiator and knowing what is cosmetically acceptable and what is not.  Radiators are more fragile than other underhood parts, and although suppliers take the strictest precautions when manufacturing, it is normal to have some surface imperfections. We’ll present their guide in sections as space allows.

Brazing – Damaged centers due to braze frame

Accept: Air centers are marked due to core frame, but still operational. This is cosmetic only.

Reject: The air centers are ripped from the core due to removal of braze frame.

Flux Missing – Stained core

Accept: Radiator core without stains.

Reject:  Core with black stains due to lack of flux during the braze process. This defect can cause leaks.

Center Stretching

Accept: Air centers not stretched.

Reject: Any air center stretched. This is due to material condition or set-up problems on the machine.

Compressed Air Centers

Accept: Only one air center compressed through its length in any part of the core. Also accept any core with less than 20 areas of air centers compressed less than 10cm in the entire core.

Reject:  Two or more air centers are compressed through their  length in any part of the core. Also reject any core with more than 20 areas of compressed air centers greater than 10cm in the entire core.

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.

You can E-mail us at or visit to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 33rd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show will take place February 7-9, 2013 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL


About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues.
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