Plastic radiator repair, in most cases will not work. As car companies focus more and more on light-weight, yet durable materials, plastic tank radiators with aluminum cores have become increasingly more common. While you may think using plastic to cool a vehicle may seem strange , plastic tanks have proven to be an effective tool in helping to keep your engine cool. Plastic used in your radiator is not your normal plastic, and really a blend of mostly nylon, glass and polymers. Plastic tank radiators are chosen for their extreme light weight and are more adaptable to adding fittings and brackets. Some argue that plastic radiators are not as well made as all-metal radiators, but time has proven them well suited to the cooling system and the extreme heats that are generated. Most people have no idea what material their radiator is made out of.
No matter what kind of radiator you have, after years of usage, it is possible to develop a cooling system leak and need a radiator repair or some other cooling system service.
- The number one cause of needing a radiator repair is the failure to change the antifreeze when called for and keeping coolant at appropriate levels. Ensuring your coolant is at correct levels is critical to keeping your vehicle from overheating. Old or expired coolant must be changed to keep protecting your cooling system. Your antifreeze may look ok, but if it’s old, change it. If a refill is needed, be sure to use the appropriate 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water. Distilled or purified water is better than plain tap water because it is less likely to cause a corrosive build up or adversely react with any other materials.
- Plastic, unlike metal, is prone to cracking and is one of the largest plastic-specific issue surrounding plastic tank radiator repair. With the vibration and extreme temperatures of the coolant, stress fractures, and cracks are inevitable in any radiator. The main problem is that plastic tank radiator repairs are just harder to fix. A lot of the time, you will need to replace the radiator tank or check the cost of a complete replacement radiator. Plastic tanks are not as easy to repair as a metal tank would be.
- There are many cooling system failures that can occur no matter the type of radiator you have. Thermostat sticking, coolant trapped air bubble, radiator obstructions, radiator fan failure, or leaking water pump are all common causes of a leaky radiator or cooling system. Proper maintenance and checking your cooling system may help you avoid the need for a radiator repair or highway breakdown.
Plastic Tank Radiator Repair options
Plastic tank radiators can be quite hard to repair. Many believe it is easier just to replace the radiator, rather than trying to fix it. With metal radiators, you can solder or weld leaks but with plastic tank radiators you don’t have that option and a repair is not as easy.
The best idea is to let a licensed mechanic or radiator shop take a look at your cooling system leak. They can help you decide what your best options may be, to repair or give you a radiator replacement cost. You may find that the leak is not from the radiator but a hose. If you want to save the cost of labor some cooling system leak repairs can be done yourself, like a simple hose replacement. Welding, soldering, epoxy patch, plastic heat melt and other options are probably best left to the repair shop and are not simple fixes. Everything depends on what part is leaking and are you the DIY guy or not.
Radiator repair kits or cooling system repair kits are good to have on hand if you have a problem. These kits can be found at part stores, online or put together yourself. Radiator repair kits are a great option if you have a situation where you have to patch your cooling system to give you time to get into a repair shop. Information on radiator repair kits can be found here.
Before deciding whether to replace a radiator or repair a radiator, it is important to assess what is causing the problem. Is your water pump defective or do you have a stuck thermostat? You can save a lot of time and money doing easy repairs yourself as long as you really know what the problem is and what caused it. The key here is not to replace a radiator or even fix a radiator if you still have a problem with another part that caused the damage in the first place.
Plastic Radiator Tank Repair Video