Your car’s radiator can be quite tricky to handle. Since it’s dealing with the cooling system, it is prone to a lot of problems, most notably leaking. The reason for this is that your car’s cooling system mainly relies on liquid substances. Great examples of this are motor oils and water.
Letting the radiator leak for too long can spell disastrous consequences. Hence, it’s important that you have the best radiator stop leak at your disposal. That will patch up your radiator efficiently. In return, it’ll also save you so much money compared to going to a repair shop!
Last update on 2019-01-21 at 06:22 PST - Details
Understanding the Cooling System
Before we dive into the products, it’s a must for us to understand the cooling system and how the radiator works. Without any knowledge towards this, you might feel uneasy buying a stop leak. It could make you think twice and resort to professional service.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, leakage in your cooling system is one of the problems that can be solved by yourself. That would improve your skill as a car owner, and will also save you a lot of time and money!
Unlike other systems in your vehicle’s engine, the cooling system is one of the simplest components that is easy to understand. That’s why it’s a must for any car owner to know at least this much.
For starters, the cooling system only does one thing, and it’s pretty significant. Obviously, it’s there to cool your car while at work. Cars use air-fuel combustion and a lot of mechanical friction. Thus, your car is bound to overheat if it doesn’t have a functioning cooling system.
The system begins by having a cap where you place the cooling agent. It is the entry point of the coolant for it to reach the deeper areas in the engine. The coolant is something that you can buy separately.
You can locate the cap by the engine block. And after reaching its entry point, it gets fed to an inlet hose mounted on top of the radiator. The coolant then travels to several passages strategically to cool the engine. Some of the most important passageways that it goes to are the engine block and cylinder heads.
As the coolant travels throughout the engine, it cools it down by absorbing the heat. Remember, instead of neutralizing the heat, it absorbs it. This way your engine doesn’t steam and create gas. Finally, the heated fluid will travel back to the radiator for it to come out.
Significant Parts of the Cooling System
To further expound this, it’s best to know that like any component in your car; the cooling system has several parts. These all work to create a functional and systematic way to cool your car’s engine.
The radiator is arguably the most crucial part of your engine’s cooling system. If you say that you have a problem with the cooling, most mechanics will check the radiator immediately.
Radiators, to just put it, are heat exchangers. They’re like money exchangers, except the currency here is the heating temperature. After the coolant absorbs the heat throughout the engine block, it goes to the radiator to exchange all that heat.
The transfer happens thanks to the fins inside your radiator. The hot liquid travels through the tubes of the radiator, where the fins will absorb the heat. That, in turn, will allow the coolant to lower its temperature substantially. It will allow it to repeat the cycle of cooling.
The water pump is pretty simple to explain too. It’s a medium-sized device that is mainly responsible for circulating the coolant. Without the water pump, there will be a big problem when it comes to the cycle’s process.
Thus, look out for potential water pump issues as well.
You can take the thermostat’s function. Like other applications, the engine’s thermostat measures the temperature of the coolant. It acts as a signal if the temperature of the coolant is good enough to enter the radiator.
If the coolant is not yet hot enough, the thermostat won’t allow it to pass. That benefits the cooling efficiency of your car, making sure that it absorbs the heat very well.
Other Things to Remember
The parts that we’ve listed are not all there is to the cooling system. Parts such as the pressure cap, reservoir, freeze plugs, and gaskets are all important. However, we won’t be focusing much on that for today.
Still, always conduct regular check up on your cooling system in general. Doing the correct protocol and procedures should lessen the probability of your cooling system from malfunctioning.
How Do I Handle Radiator Leaks?
Leaks can happen quite frequently in most cars, especially ones with a lot of mileage. One of the most common places for this to occur is your radiator, and that’s because it takes in a lot of hot fluid.
Having leaks in your radiator can have a lot of consequences. The good news is that it’s easy to identify leaks and solve them.
Checking for Leaks
For starters, it’s important that you inspect several details about your car. The first you’d want to do is to check the temperature gauge to see if it’s rising. Should there be a leak in the radiator, this will mean the loss of coolant. Less coolant will eventually cause temperatures to rise.
Another means to do this is to check if there are any puddles under the radiator. It is the most visible sign since a leaking radiator would produce a puddle of coolant beneath it when idle.
If you’re still not sold on that, you can further inspect it by looking at the reservoir. It is also part of the cooling system, and it stores coolant inside a transparent container. Start by marking the coolant inside.
Afterwards, if you go for a drive, you might see that the coolant has reduced inside the container. That shouldn’t happen since coolants are meant to circulate, not reduce. Thus, a leak is the only reason for this to happen.
Using the Radiator Stop Leak
The products we are about to discuss now are not great solutions for serious problems. These issues include blown gaskets and radiators with huge cracks. Instead, the stop leak works through minor to moderate cracks that are usually caused by wear and tear.
The major problems, on the other hand, are caused by external factors such as accidents. The stop leak will travel inside the radiator, and this works by repairing the interior by detecting gaps.
Once the holes are exposed, the substances in the stop leak will automatically stick to it and repair it. It’s really like a live material that reacts to the presence of air gaps. Thus, it’s suitable for paper thin leaks and not the major ones.
Our Top 5 Picks
While we do have a lot of great products out here, finding the best radiator stop leak is a matter of trial and error. It’s important for you to understand that not all products can work miraculously for all vehicles.
A lot of things depend on the degree of damage, the size, and even the model of the vehicle itself. However, if we’re going to go with the most well acclaimed product, ATP Re-Seal wins this one.
They’re one of the best at formulating straightforward solutions to help stop those leaks once and for all. So go ahead and give it a try! If you find this informative, be sure to leave a comment below and share this to fellow car owners. Good luck!