3 Radiator Repair FAQs
Here are answers to some questions associated with a radiator repair service:
1. What Is A Radiator?
The radiator is a critical part of your vehicle’s cooling system.
Coolant circulates throughout your engine, absorbing the heat produced, so your engine stays at a good temperature. However, in doing so, the coolant fluid becomes hot too. The radiator helps removes heat from the coolant, allowing the coolant to return to the engine to do its job.
The radiator comprises these components:
- The core: The hot coolant moves into the core, where it’s stored and cooled by the radiator for the next circulation.
- The pressure cap: The pressure cap keeps the cooling system pressurized, thereby preventing the coolant from boiling or overflowing.
- The outlet and inlet tanks: The coolant flows through the outlet and inlet tanks as it circulates through the engine.
Note: Radiators used to be brass and copper, but manufacturers now prefer aluminum radiators with plastic headers and gaskets. These plastic headers are more economical and easy to repair.
2. How To Diagnose A Leak In The Radiator?
You’ll need specialized tools and technical knowledge to diagnose a radiator problem. If you feel unsure, it’s best to take your vehicle to an auto repair shop.
Here’s how certified technicians would go about a radiator check:
- Inspect the color of the liquid puddles under your vehicle. If the color is orange or green, it could signify a coolant leak.
- Check the coolant level in the coolant reservoir, ensuring it’s at the correct level as marked in the reservoir. Typically, when the coolant level is low, it’ll trigger the Check Engine Light.
- Inspect the radiator cap, engine bay, and the surrounding area for signs of a leak or damage. If no leak is detected, conduct a pressure test. Attach a pressure tester to the radiator or reservoir, cranking the pressure to 15 PSI, which should identify the leak.
3. How To Fix A Radiator Leak?
Radiator leaks can happen in different places, so your best option is to get a professional to replace it.
However, here are some ways to temporarily fix the leak until you can get a mechanic to make a permanent repair.
You’ll need some basic tools:
- Safety gloves
- Safety glasses
And here are some optional items:
- Welding or soldering tools
- Cooling system pressure tester
- Commercial stop leak for radiators
- Radiator epoxy
- Before doing anything else, locate the leak first to make sure it’s from the radiator.
- If you have trouble finding the leak, you may need to use the pressure tester. With the engine off, attach the pressure test to the radiator or reservoir. Pump up to 15 PSI, and the leak should reveal itself. Note: Don’t exceed 15 PSI, or you could damage your cooling system.
- Fix the leak. There are a few ways to for this temporary fix. Here’s a table of methods to help you decide:
Temporary Radiator Repair Methods
||With a cool engine, pour 1 tablespoon of black pepper into the radiator (not the plastic reservoir.)
Fill the radiator with 50/50 water and antifreeze.
Drive the vehicle for about 15 mins, then shut off the engine. Allow about 30 mins for pepper particles to swell and plug the leak.
Note: This method isn’t always reliable and may cause clogs. Only use as a last resort.
||With a cool engine, pour the egg white into the radiator (you may need more than 1 egg.)
Ensure the radiator cap is secure, and start your car. The radiator heat will cook the egg whites, and the pressure will force the eggs into the holes to temporarily patch the leak.
Note: This method isn’t always reliable and may cause clogs.
|Radiator stop leak
||Apply this product once the engine is cool. Follow packaging instructions.
Note: This is the easiest way to fix a radiator leak, but it may cause clogs.
||The product is typically applied after the radiator is drained. Follow packaging instructions. The radiator should be sealed after a few hours.
Note: This method is fairly reliable and easy.
|Soldering or welding
||This method can be used for copper, brass, or aluminum radiators.