How to fix the leaky radiator

The radiator on the car ensures that the engine is cooled so that it does not overheat and destroy important parts.

It is an integral part of the cooling system, and the most important component to get rid of excess heat.

The coolant flows through the system and is warmed by the engine while it is cooled by the radiator. If it fails, it is usually due to a leak, so there is not enough liquid to cool the engine.

Leaky cooler

You can often tell that the radiator is leaking from the fact that a small puddle of water forms under the front of the car or the car becomes warmer than usual.

If that happens, you should first check the coolant level and if it has dropped you need to see if you can find the leak.

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What does a cooling system check include?

When you check the cooling system, you don’t just have to check the radiator. There may also be other parts with problems such as loose straps, porous hoses and leaky connections.

It would be a shame to save time checking the cooling system and then find out a little later that something else has leaked.

When checking the cooler, you should not only look at the cooling fins to see if they are cracked, but also to see if there is a risk of them breaking soon. In such a case, you can subject the system to a pressure test to make sure that it can withstand the levels of heat with expansion strains that commonly occur.

Repair of the car radiator

If the cooler is defective, you may want to go to a workshop, as repairing or replacing a cooler can be a lot of work.

If it is just a small leak, you can temporarily seal it yourself. However, you should save money on an exchange because a repair has a limited lifespan.

There are different types of coolant sealants, usually liquid or powder. It is added while the engine is cold and the car is idling. If there are leaks, sealant will collect in the leak and the hole will be plugged.

When the engine is turned off and the radiator cools, the sealant hardens into a seal in the hole.

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Older models

If you have an older car with a copper or brass cooler, it must be removed before sealing.

The cooler must be connected to a pressure system and placed in a water tank so that you can see where the hole is under pressure. The place with the hole must be marked.

Then the cooler is dried and sealed with blowtorch and solder.

Aluminium cooler

If you have a cooler made of aluminium, this must also be pressure tested in a water bath, the leakage marked and repaired with special aluminum epoxy adhesive or paste.

A cooler aluminium cannot be soldered. It would melt, which would do more harm than good.

It may be necessary to do several pressure tests and repairs to get the hole properly sealed.

What happens if coolant leaks?

If you find that the coolant is running out of the radiator instead of dripping, the damage is likely to be greater than a single repair.

You will need to do a more thorough inspection of the cooling system and radiator to determine the source of the leak, and whether there is damage to a hose, reservoir, or a loose drain plug.

When you find out that there is a leak in the radiator, you can start to check if it is worth repairing.

It is a good idea to keep an eye on the temperature display, both in summer and winter, so that you know where it is normally located and you can more easily determine whether unusual values ​​are displayed.

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