Radiator and Transmission Maintenance

How to Prevent Radiator Leak


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No one wants to get stranded with a radiator leak gushing coolant all over the street. As the coolant leaks out, you wonder how you could have prevented such a hassle. Fortunately, following a few simple steps will go a long way toward keeping your car's coolant contained:

Step 1: Follow Coolant Maintenance Schedule
Change coolant according to the radiator maintenance schedule. By putting fresh fluid with anti-corrosion agents into the system, this can help prevent corrosion that weakens the radiator's core and seams. By the same token, debris contained in dirty coolant can lodge in the internal chambers, producing increased pressure.

Step 2: Check Hoses
Check the hose connections that join the radiator to other components like the engine block, passenger heater core and transmission. The clamps holding hoses can loosen or rust, or the hose itself can wear out. Replace clamps or hoses but don't over-tighten them. On some radiators over-tightening clamps can warp the hose and cause a radiator coolant leak.

Step 3: Check Radiator Cap
See if the rubber seals are cracked or deteriorated. Apply pressure to the spring to make sure it moves smoothly. If the cap fails these checks, replace it.

Step 4: Ensure Radiator Seated Properly
Make sure the radiator is seated properly into rubber insulators if applicable. Often a rubber cushion sits between the radiator and the car's frame to insulate the radiator from shocks and bumps. Without proper seating, the hard surfaces can bump together and cause a small puncture.

Step 5: Check and Repair Related Parts
Keep the other parts of the engine compartment and body in good condition. A broken front grill can allow stones or debris to strike and puncture the radiator. Fan belts that break and snap can puncture the radiator parts and damage other components.

Step 6: Adopt Careful Driving Habits
Avoid potholes and other bad road conditions. Jolts can stress the radiator casting and cause cracks.

Preventing radiator leaks involves fairly simple and inexpensive actions. Following the above steps will help keep your radiator fluid where it belongs - inside the cooling system.

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