There a few automobile warnings scarier than when the car temperature gets too high. If you keep going, then you risk damaging your engine beyond repair. You’ll be stranded with a broken-down car and no hope of a quick fix.
If you stop, then you need to have water or some other coolant on hand to put into the radiator and keep the car cool. A broken radiator can be a disaster and one of the biggest culprits is a leak that drains the fluid.
If this happened to you, learn how you can fix it or at least save your car until you get to a gas station or mechanic.
What Causes a Broken Radiator?
The biggest problems with radiators are either a crack or leak in the main radiator or one of the tubes leading into the cooling system. This can cause coolant to leak quickly or slowly depending on the size of the leak.
The first step is knowing where the leak is located. Check under the car and see if you see anything leaking. If it’s near the very front of the car, then it’s probably the radiator itself. If it is elsewhere, then it’s likely a tube.
A Quick Fix
If the leak is visible, then you can temporarily fix it with waterproof tape to help cover it. You can also replace the fluid by carrying extra coolant in the car. If it’s not winter, then you can use water to cool the radiator, but this should only be a last resort.
It’s not a great coolant and if it’s winter, then it can freeze in the pipe and cause even more leaks because ice expands. Water can help you make it to a gas station or mechanic, but it should be removed and replaced with proper coolant as soon as possible.
Keep Commercial Stop Leak in Your Car
If you have a small leak and don’t have the money for a mechanic or a new radiator, then consider using commercial stop leak. There’s a lot of debate on how effective this is, but it can temporarily stop or slow down a radiator leak for a few days.
It’s not meant to be a permanent fix, so you should take it to a mechanic as soon as you can. If you don’t, then the leak will eventually return and can damage the engine.
Time for New Radiator?
If you have a leak in the radiator itself, then the mechanic will likely want to replace the radiator because the cost of fixing the leak will be just as costly and only temporary. If the leak is in a tube, then they can replace the tube easily.
If you have a broken radiator that’s leaking, don’t wait too long to fix it. You’ll need to keep putting in coolant and the leak will only get work. Eventually, it’s not worth constantly adding coolant.
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