A car radiator leaks either because the radiator hose is punctured or the radiator drain plug O-ring is spoilt. Your car’s radiator may be leaking and you are confused on what to do.
A car’s drain plug is usually at the bottom of a radiator. The plug is used to drain used radiator fluid. The radiator fluid should be replaced regularly after flushing the radiator so as to amplify your vehicle’s performance.
Eighty percent of radiator leaks because of damaged radiator drain plug O-rings. This means that whenever you have a radiator leak, the radiator drain plug O-ring is the first thing to be checked. If you suspect or find that it is indeed damaged, the following steps will help you change it yourself.
WHAT YOU NEED
- A new plug O-ring for the radiator
- A dry towel
- Vaseline or any other ideal silicon lubricant
- A bucket or any other plastic container
- A screwdriver or a wrench
- Heavy work gloves
Step 1: SHUT OFF THE ENGINE OFF AND REMOVE THE CAR’S RADIATOR CAP
You should turn off the engine of your car and wait until the engine temperature cools down completely before you can work on its cooling system. This may take quite some time if essentially because it has been in use. Put on some gloves. Then place the dry towel on top of the car’s radiator cap and loosen it counterclockwise. The cap will come loose once the spring is disengaged. Keep your face abit at a distance, since once the cap is disengaged, pressure will escape from the vehicles’s radiator. Remove the cap slowly so that the pressure is let out gradually until it has escaped fully. Once the pressure is gone, remove the cap completely.
Step 2: DRAIN THE RADIATOR AND REMOVE THE DAMAGED O-RING
Keep the bucket underneath the radiator’s drain plug. Using your screwdriver, turn the drain plug in the counterclockwise direction until it loosens. Let the radiator fluid empty into the bucket. Next, apply some silicon lubricant or Vaseline on the O-ring and attempt to slide it off. It should easily come off from the drain plug.
Step 3: PUT YOUR NEW O-RING AND REPLACE THE PLUG
Before you insert the new O-ring, apply some silicon lubricant or Vaseline to it. Then put it on the drain plug and ensure it is completely within the provided groove. Place the drain plug back into the radiator. Slowly turn it in a clockwise direction until it is tightened. Do not over tighten it.
Step 4: REFILL THE RADIATOR WITH ANTIFREEZE
You can now add a new mixture of water and half antifreeze into the radiator. Each of these liquids should be mixed to a ratio of 1:1. Be sure that the radiator is completely full with the mixture. If there is a reservoir tank, fill it with the mixture too.
Without covering the cap, start the engine and run it for some time, so that the radiator distributes the radiator fluid to the entire cooling system.
Step 5: REFILL THE RADIATOR FLUID AND PUT THE RADIATOR CAP BACK
There will be more space now for the mixture of water and antifreeze coolant. Refill the radiator and the reservoir tank. put the radiator cap back, and turn it in a clockwise direction until it is securely tightened.
Even before leaks starts, it is important that you replace the radiator drain plug O-ring every time you refill the radiator fluid or flush the radiator. With a damaged O-ring, the car’s water and antifreeze coolant can be lost and cause your car to overheat easily and frequently without your knowledge.