Repairing your vehicle’s damaged or broken radiator on your own can be a great way to save the labor costs that a mechanic would charge. More important than saving costs, however, is your safety. Let’s explore some safety tips for working on car and truck radiators.
First and foremost, it is essential to know your limits. If you’ve never worked on cars a day in your life, and don’t know anything about the mechanics of vehicles, it may be a better idea in the long run to give the work to a licensed mechanic. This also applies to your physical limit as attempting to lift a large car part with a weak back can cause serious physical harm. A radiator repair can be very easy on some vehicles and very difficult on others. Older vehicles have less obstructions and less electrical cooling system parts and should be easier to work on.
Before starting a radiator repair turn off your vehicle and allow the car to cool down at least an hour before touching anything. Burns from a still-hot radiator or engine are among one of the most common radiator repair injuries. This is especially true when opening the radiator cap, as pressure and boiling hot liquid can cause serious injuries.
- Never work on a hot radiator! They are pressurized and get up to 190 degrees and much more if overheating.
- Fire hazards may seem moot when working with liquids, but is a very real danger that should be accounted for. Keep all open flames away from your workspace, including cigarettes. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, in case a fire does begin. Electrical wires can cause a fire, keep all flames and sparks away from your battery and a gas can ignite if there is a gas leak around the engine.
- Ensure your car is properly lifted and supported with jack stands. Don’t trust one method to keep your car off the ground, especially before getting under it to work.
- If repairs or replacements are being made, be sure to drain all coolant before beginning and always wear eye protection.
- Never work alone, or without someone knowing you are working on your car. Having a friend or family member there to help is always a good idea.
- Finally, follow instructions. Trying to take shortcuts during repair or replacement may save time, but can be very harmful. If your radiator fails due to a shortcut what did you really save. Do the radiator repair properly or take it somewhere to get it done.
Most of all, remember your safety comes first. Follow all guidelines as stated in your owners manual and any instructions that come with a repair kit if you are using one.