Tools Needed to Test and Repair a Radiator

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Many ambitious car owners have decided to forego paying labor to an auto mechanic, and take on radiator repairs themselves. This is absolutely a doable task, and can be done with minimal tools and a little bit of knowledge.

As with any auto repair, being prepared with the right tools goes a long way. What tools do you need to test and repair your radiator?

  • A variety of common mechanics tools are things most households already have, and may not need to be purchased. A flashlight or lamp will help you see inside your engine compartment easier, especially if there is a lack of natural light. Screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers will help you remove parts if needed.
  • Safety gear is important, because of the possibility of  boiling hot coolant and other dangers. Gloves can help protect your hands from burns and safety goggles can protect your eyes from boiling water, or parts that may pop off as you are working with them. Learn more about radiator repair safety.
  • A diagram of your engine and radiator and how it connects to various hoses and mounting brackets can help you ensure everything is put back in its correct place, especially if parts need to be removed for repairs or replacements. Use your iPhone to take pictures if that helps, and make sure all fittings removed are kept in one spot.
  • A drain pan is necessary, as a radiator’s main component is liquid and it is toxic, so keep all pets away from it. Drain the coolant from your radiator completely or at least to below the area of the leak. It is especially important, that during any repair, there is no liquid touching the inside of the hole you are repairing.
  • A pressure tester is nice to have so you can test your repair and to be sure the radiator is no longer leaking. A radiator pressure tester can be purchased as a kit that fit most makes and models of vehicles. Testers can be expensive and if you skip testing the repair make sure you key an eye on the repair and your gauge.
  • Any replacement parts will need to be compatible with your vehicle. Replacing or repairing with inappropriate parts can seriously damage your engine or causing problems. Make sure you get the right part for your vehicle and having the VIN number is a good idea when going to the part store.

By arming yourself with the correct tools and following directions, you should be able to safely perform a proper radiator repair.

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