Repairing radiators is something we may end up needing at one point or another when you own a car. Finding out that your radiator is leaking will spring you into action to stop the leak. You may contemplate buying a new radiator and replacing the damaged one yourself or carry your car to the mechanic shop and allow the professionals to service your vehicle. However, paying for the cost of a new radiator and adding labor costs could be quite expensive at times. They’re times you will not be able to do so due to budget constraints.

How Do  Radiators Work?

Engine-Cooling-System

Constructed with slim, hollow channels, the radiator sits at the front of the engine of your car. Liquid coolant is pumped from the radiator through tubes to the running motor, where it draws off the heat and cool down the engine’s components. When pumped back to the radiator, hot coolant is then cooled by air passing through the grill as the car moves. The coolant then cycles back through the engine to repeat the cycle and keep the auto systems working at an optimal temperature. It is important that the engine cooling system is properly functioning. Basically, without a radiator and engine coolant, your engine will overheat. 

Identifying A Radiator Leak

A sign that your radiator is leaking is if a pool of green, yellow, or orange coolant shows up under your car. Sometimes all you may find are a few drops. Other times it may be an actual puddle of coolant on the road. Another sign is your temperature gauge indicating that your car is overheating.

coolant-radiator-leak

Sometimes you may see steam rising from the radiator, indicating a pinhole leak or punctured seam. If the leak isn’t readily apparent, wash down the radiator and its hoses with water and watch for pinhole leak as the motor runs.

A word of caution when inspecting your car’s engine: parts of the motor will be extremely hot and could cause burns or scalding. Always exercise extreme caution when looking for leaks in your car’s cooling system. If you are uncomfortable checking it yourself you can always ask for help from an experienced auto radiator expert. 

Repairing The Radiator YourSelf

Repairing the radiator yourself can be accomplished with the help of a radiator repair kit. This can be an option once the radiator is not severely damaged.  You will need to investigate the leak to know if the problem is emanating from either the radiator or the hose. There are other places of the cooling system that can be the cause of the leak. You should add pressure to the radiator to isolate it and identify exactly where the leak is located. Ensure that the radiator’s area is dry and clean. You can use radiator cleaning spray like WD-40 for this purpose.

After contacting or visiting the mechanic and discussing the leakage problem with them, you will be better equipped to purchase the right items and ascertain the labor costs. You can decide whether you need to replace the radiator, get it repaired by the mechanic radiator experts or you can repair it yourself. If you are a do it yourself type of person who loves to be adventurous and learn new things then you will enjoy repairing your own radiator. Once the radiator is repairable, you can get a repairing radiator kit suitable to meet your needs. 

When you find out the source of the leak you will understand what will be needed to repair the damaged radiator. It is always recommended to take your vehicle to the mechanic shop if you are uncertain or not willing to take any risk. If it is not possible, you can call the mechanic at your home or even call for advice. Once you get to know the exact source of the problem you can do some research online to learn the cost. As mentioned already, repairing a radiator can be costly but you can still reduce costs by doing some research and comparing prices. Still, it goes without saying, the replacement of a radiator will be more costly compared to repairing it yourself.

If you decide to do the repairs for yourself make sure to practice or conduct a trial test before attempting to do the real work. This is necessary since you do not want to make matters worse than before. This will also ensure you produce the best result possible.

Radiator Repair Techniques

Below offers three methods that you can do in order to repair a plastic radiator if the damage to it is not extensive.

  • Using a soldering iron gun to weld the plastic and seal the leak.
  • Using an epoxy that will melt after some time to seal the leak.
  • You may use both methods, solder the leak and then apply epoxy.

The first method of using a soldering iron gun can be done quickly and save on costs, especially if you already have such an item in your possession. However, the second method of using epoxy is also very easy and inexpensive. The third option of using both methods is considered an ideal one, as it will last longer compared to the other two methods.

The aforementioned techniques are simple. They require only basic skills, a soldering iron gun, and/or epoxy. Both items can be found in online stores such as Amazon and Ebay or in any hardware/tools store.

Plastic Radiators

Plastic radiators are crimped onto the aluminum core utilizing a gasket to complete the seal. One of the advantages of using plastic tanks is that the connections, brackets, and the filler neck can all be formed onto the tank during the molding process. This eliminates the need for soldering everything together like on a copper-brass radiator. Plastic radiator tanks are made of a special mix of nylon, glass and polymers that produce a very durable material that can withstand the intense heat generated by your engine. Many times when you are talking about an aluminum radiator repair you are really talking about a plastic tank leak repair.

We will go over a few basic maintenance steps you need to take to help fix any pinhole radiator leaks in your vehicle. We will then cover a few procedures you can follow to help perform an aluminum radiator repair if a leak does develop.

Soldering Method for Fixing Plastic Radiator

After the cleaning of the area that is leaking, it is time to use a soldering iron gun. Hold the soldering iron gun approximately one inch away from the leak paying close attention not to overexpose the area to excessive melting. The iron will melt the plastic and force it to combine together and seal the crack. The timing, and to what extent the plastic needs melting, all depends on the size of the crack. If it is big, then more plastic melting will be required. After you are done with sealing the crack you can put water or any other liquid on the area in order to know if the problem still exists.

 Epoxy Method for Fixing Plastic Radiator

Usually, epoxy is applied to the leakage in order to make the seal strong enough and to increase its life. Epoxy is a common method used for repairing a plastic radiator. Epoxy is a combination of chemicals that, when applied, increases temperature and melts the plastic of the radiator. With the help of epoxy, you can add extra material on the crack that would be helpful if your radiator walls are thin. You can easily mix the ingredients that are included in the repairing radiator kit easily.

When you purchase your automobile, the automotive dealers will provide its customers with the essential guide that lets you know what type of maintenance services is needed for your engine’s components to properly operate. Today, most radiators can be easily fixed and will not take much time to repair. If you are unsure if the radiator is damaged or punctured, you should schedule an appointment or contact a certified radiator technician to fix the problem. To avoid radiator heating or pinhole leakage you should check your radiator every week.

Change Your Coolant

As with any radiator, it is important to change your coolant according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Coolant can look and seem ok well past its prime, and the protective additives can wear out over time. Not changing your antifreeze when called for is one of the main causes of radiator leaks in both aluminum radiators and copper radiators.

Experts or auto technicians are always available in areas near you to give advice and handle your automotive and radiator repairs problems.