Car Repair: How to Use Radiator Sealant

January 27, 2012

Radiator sealant is a good option for a fast fix for a leaky radiator, gasket or hose. Radiator sealant is a chemical that when applied to the walls of a radiator will form a coating over any small holes or "pin pricks," keeping the radiator from leaking and allowing your vehicle to run long enough to get to a proper repair shop. Learning how to use radiator sealant is not difficult and is in fact an essential skill if you are concerned about one day being stranded along the highway with a cracked radiator.

  1. Purchase radiator sealant - Radiator sealant is available from a variety of automotive product companies. One time tested formula is that of Stop Leak. Stop Leak is one of the most widely recognized methods for helping to alleviate a leaking radiator.
  2. Pour the product into the radiator - Pour the recommended amount (normally one full bottle) of the product into the radiator. Unscrew the radiator cap and pour it in without draining any coolant out.
  3. Add radiator fluid - Add radiator fluid via the radiator cap until the level of coolant is equal to the amount recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. Start the Car - Start the car and allow the engine to warm up. This will circulate the plastic sealant through your cracked radiator and help to plug any small pinholes as well. Run the car for approximately 5 to 10 minutes to thoroughly coat the radiator.
  5. Fill the radiator - Fill the radiator with a 50/50 mixture of water and coolant to top off the cooling system.
  6. Allow the car to sit overnight - Allow the car to sit at least 12 hours so that the radiator sealant can set up properly. Then you ca drive as normal.

Some Considerations

As with any process or repair technique, there are problems that can be radiator sealant problems. There are a few considerations to make when determining whether or not to use radiator sealant. In a pinch or an emergency situation, radiator sealant does exactly as it is supposed to do: stops the leaks. Radiator sealant is not a permanent fix as the plastic sealant will eventually wear out and the leak will return. However, if you are stranded alongside the road or need to drive the vehicle to a repair shop, utilizing radiator sealant is one of the best ways to avoid damage to your engine components and save money on a tow bill.

Radiator sealant is a great option for stopping a leaking radiator or radiator hose. It is not a permanent fix and should not be considered a long term viability option in lieu of having your radiator repaired or replaced. Products such as "Stop Leak" are easily administered to your coolant system and can save the day in the unfortunate event that your vehicle breaks down along the side of the highway and you have no means of getting help. Always having a bottle in the trunk of your car in case of emergency is a great way to avoid having to walk home!


Related Questions and Answers

What are the Most Popular Radiator Sealants People Use?

If you have a leaky radiator, a good high quality radiator sealant will work very well. Most of them are liquids that are poured into the radiator to seal the leak, but block sealants are also available for use. There are several high quality sealants present in the market at present. A few of the most popular brands include: Bars Radiator Stop Leak, Gunk Radiator Sealer, Silver Seal, K-Seal Permanent Sealant Fix, and Omega 101. Online stores have several popular brands that you can choose from. But please make sure that you check your car over completely if the problem persists. Even with the radiator sealants.

What is the Average Cost to Repair an Automotive Radiator Hose?

When it comes to automotive radiator hose repair or automotive repairs, the actual cost will vary from shop to shop. Your car may also require a lot of maintenance or alternate work that will be included in the same bill, raising the cost. Cars also have two radiator hoses. One on top, and the other on the bottom. If you are planning to repair the hoses yourself, you will just have to bear the cost of the repair kit. An ordinary repair kit will cost anywhere from $45-$100. But online prices can be lower. If you are planning to give the car to a garage, ask them for an estimate, and then get another quote from another garage before finalizing the deal.

How Many Types of Radiator Fluid are there?

    Radiator fluid comes in many different varieties. The three main types of radiator fluid include the following. Ethylene Glycol/Polyethylene Glycol are the most popular types of radiator fluids that are used in modern cars. Non-Toxic Radiator Coolant does not contain ethylene glycol or polyethylene glycol and is relatively non-toxic for car use. Extended-Life radiator fluid contains additives that make the air conditioning system and the car radiator work for longer. These products also last for a much longer time. The exact composition of radiator fluid changes from year to year. It's a good idea to check with your owners manual to find out the exact variety that you can use on your car.

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