Can You Service Your Car Radiator Yourself?

Posted on: 19 October 2018

If you're somebody who always likes to be prepared, no matter what, you may be aware that the Australian summer is rapidly approaching. While you may have been basking in some cool temperatures and seasonal variety, you know that the long, dog days are ahead and that you must make sure your car is as prepared as possible. Last summer, you may recall some issues with overheating when the mercury reached its peak, and you don't want to risk any breakdown. So what can you do to be as prepared as possible, automotively?

Restoring Function

Overheating is usually caused by a buildup of sediment within the radiator. If it's been quite a while since you looked at this unit, then this is likely the cause, as tiny particles of rubber mix with inconsistencies in the coolant, sticking to the narrow fins within the radiator and blocking progress. As you may know, the coolant needs to flow unrestricted and under pressure through the radiator and if it can't, it won't be able to protect the engine properly. If you're ready for some labour-intensive work and have plenty of patience, you can try to fix this yourself, according to the following car radiator repair process.

Getting Ready

To begin, the old coolant has to go, and you must locate the drain plug that is usually towards the bottom. For many people, one of the biggest challenges is to actually open the drain as it can often be a flimsy gadget, may have corroded in place, and could easily break off in your hands. Assuming that you have opened the door, make sure that you catch the old fluid in an appropriate receptacle and take steps to dispose of it properly, i.e. — not down the drain.

Here Is Where the Work Begins

Once you have loosened off the top and bottom hoses, you will need to flush the system out as comprehensively as possible. In order to do this, the water has to be delivered with some pressure, so you will have to create a funnel of sorts to direct the water properly and prevent blow-back. Assuming that you have done this, keep an eye on what comes out from the other end and stop flushing when the water appears to run clear. Next, reverse your position, and force water upward from the bottom opening. Obviously, you need to catch the old fluid coming out of the top at this stage, and this can be even more difficult.

Outside Next

While you are at it, clean the outside of the radiator as this will have a buildup of grime and dirt, picked up along the road. Don't be too aggressive here, and make sure you use a soft brush instead of something harder, as the radiator is very easy to damage.

Should You Do This?

Just bear in mind that you should flush the system several times and always under pressure for best effect. You may already see that this is challenging and could eat up most of your weekend day, so perhaps you should take it in to your mechanic instead.