How to Stop Radiator Leaks
If you’ve ever noticed colorful liquid pooling under the hood of your car, you probably know what a radiator leak is by now. If not, it’s when engine coolant leaks from the radiator of the cooling system, which is a huge problem that gets much worse rather quickly.
When coolant is completely gone, only the oil and a few fans are left to reduce engine heat. The oil will burn away very quickly leaving nothing to protect the engine from friction heat. Oil can even char and get stuck to the internal components of the engine. After that, you’re looking at expensive engine cleaning and repairs that may leave you questioning whether it’s time to buy a new ride.
Don’t want to cripple your car or truck by ignoring something that can be easily fixed? Then let’s talk about how to fix a radiator leak. (And remember, if you don’t want to do your own radiator repairs, just give Tedious Repairs a call and we’ll gladly handle it for you, (530) 826-4275).
What Causes Radiator Leaks
Radiator corrosion is common due to environmental factors like rain and mud, and can even happen due to chemical degradation under rare circumstances. Over time, all metal and mechanical parts will wear and rust until they need to be replaced… go as we all, like dust in the wind… sigh. But I digress. Same goes for gaskets, hose connectors, and other metallic radiator parts. Physical damage say from accidents can also cause damage, obviously.
Bad engine coolant is one of the chemical causes of radiator holes. Some cheap coolants aren’t even good enough to do the job and allow the engine to heat quickly despite the presence of coolant. This is why it’s important to ensure you’re using the right engine coolant for the job. Use this chart from Valvoline to determine which engine coolant is right for your engine:
How to Fix Radiator Leaks
Radiator sealant is a kind of glue or paste which can be used to seal over holes you find on the radiator. It’s made from chemicals resistant to high heat that shouldn’t erode as much from normal driving conditions. However, if you go off-roading or drive in wet weather conditions, mileage may vary. Check on the patch job frequently if that’s the case. If you have to keep applying it (or really, if you have to apply it at all even once), it’s time to consider buying a new radiator and replacing the old one.
The other problem with radiator sealant is finding the radiator leaks yourself. If you can find them, it’s still not easy to get full view let alone hand access to apply the fix. We have a full radiator shop for jobs like this, but you may not have all the tools on hand. Before you start, make sure you’re prepared or you won’t be able to drive it anywhere in a pinch.
Stop leak is another option for sealing leaks, but typically should be administered by a trained technician to avoid damaging internal components. Overuse can be worse than nothing at all, clogging the internal hosing too much for anything to work. Regardless, it’s a last-ditch solution that usually means a radiator replacement is imminent anyway. More often than not, see a technician once you get to this point, before it gets worse.
Replace Radiator Hoses and Parts
Radiator hoses or connectors may simply be bad or broken. If joints don’t hold or a hose has a large tear for example, just replace them. Sometimes, especially after car accidents, the damage is severe enough that you need an entire radiator replacement. In those situations after repairs are finished, always be sure to check that all hoses and fastenings are tightened too.
Likely you’ll want trained radiator technicians to handle professional radiator service like that. If you’re in the Chico area, just bring it in to our auto shop and we’ll be happy to take a look at it for you.
Our Radiator Techs are Here for You!
There’s not much more you can do to fix your own radiator beyond the options above, unless you own a machine shop and can work metal and car parts yourself. Or maybe you can weld and you’re ready to patch up your radiator like an old jacket. If so, awesome. You seem cool.
You know what else is cool? Not having a friggin’ radiator leak. Got radiator problems? We can help. Give Tedious Repairs a call using the contact information below and we’ll be glad to help you with any radiator repair issues you may have including issues with the thermostat, gaskets, freeze plugs, or what’er else may give ya trouble.
Thanks again for reading and check in next week for more car repair and auto service content!
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