A vehicle radiator leaks either because the radiator hose is punctured or the radiator drain plug O-ring is spoilt. Your vehicle’s radiator may be leaking and you are at a loss as to what to do.
A vehicle’s drain plug is normally at the bottom of a radiator. The plug is used to drain used radiator fluid. The radiator fluid should be changed 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 implies that whenever you have a radiator leak, the radiator drain plug O-ring is the first thing you can inspect. If you feel or find that it is indeed damaged, the following steps will assist you replace it yourself.
- A new purchased 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: Turn the Engine Off and Remove the Vehicle’s Radiator Cap
You should then turn off the engine of your vehicle and wait until the engine cools down entirely before you can work on its cooling system. This may take quite some time if particularly it has been in use. Put on some work gloves. Then put the dry towel on top of the vehicle’s radiator cap and loosen it counterclockwise. The cap will come loose immediately the spring disengages. Place your face at a distance, since once the cap is disengaged, pressure will escape from the vehicle’s radiator. Remove the cap slowly so that the pressure is released gradually until it has escaped fully. The moment the pressure is gone, remove the cap completely.
Step 2: Drain the Radiator and Then Remove the Damaged O-ring
Put the bucket underneath the radiator’s drain plug. Using your screwdriver, turn the drain plug in the counterclockwise direction until it gets loose. Let the radiator fluid empty into the bucket. Next, put 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 Change the Plug
Before you mount the new O-ring, apply some silicon lubricant or Vaseline to it. Then fit it on the drain plug and ensure it is entirely within the provided groove. Put the drain plug back into the radiator. Slowly turn it in a clockwise direction until it gets tightened. Don’t over tighten it.
Step 4: Refill Your Radiator with Antifreeze
Now you can put 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 all together full with the mixture. If there is a reservoir tank, fill it with the mixture too.
Without capping the radiator start your engine and run it for some time, so that the radiator distributes the radiator fluid to all the cooling system.
Step 5: Refill the Radiator Fluid and Recap the Radiator
There will now 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 gets securely tightened.
Even before leaks starts, it is vital that you change the radiator drain plug O-ring every time you refill the radiator fluid or flush the radiator. With a damaged O-ring, the vehicle’s water and antifreeze coolant can get lost and cause your vehicle to overheat easily and regularly.