Having a leak in your radiator is something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible because your car is at risk of overheating. It's even better if you prevent those leaks before they happen. Here are a few ways you can either prevent your radiator from leaking or fix a leak you suddenly develop when you're far away from a repair station.
The best way to prevent leaks is to do regular cooling system maintenance. Have your coolant flushed at regular intervals according to your car's manufacturer's recommendation. Make sure to maintain the proper ratio of coolant to water. Too much water could cause rust problems, overheating or, if the weather is cold, cracking. Some tap water also has minerals and metals that may be harmful to the system if that tap water is the only source of fluid in the system. Water will temporarily work when there is no coolant available, but coolant should be replaced as soon as possible. Also, make sure your radiator is seated properly. Sometimes the rubber cushions on which the radiator sits deteriorate or fall out. Radiator supports may rust out and create holes. Check also for a loose or broken radiator cap or coolant reservoir.
Temporarily fixing a leak
If your radiator suddenly starts leaking when you're on the road, you may be able to provide a temporary fix until you can get it repaired. These remedies won't work for large leaks, but they may work for small cracks and holes. There are different types of epoxy seals designed to temporarily seal small leaks from the outside. You can keep some of them in your emergency kits. Be sure to thoroughly read and follow the instructions on these products. Some remedies may involve putting chemicals into the cooling system which could potentially cause problems, especially if they're not used properly. In any case, always make sure your car is completely cool before doing any work on the cooling system.
Permanently repairing the leak
Except for replacing the radiator cap, it's usually best to take your car into a professional if you need radiator work. Radiators have multiple chambers, tubes and fins that could make the repair complicated. Also, if there is one leak, then chances are there are other areas that are rusted, clogged or thinned out which need repair. Often, the quickest and easiest thing to do is to have the entire radiator replaced with a new or remanufactured one. If the supports and frame are rusted, then the repair may become a little more complicated. A professional mechanic from a company like Arringdale's Engine Rebuilding & Auto Repair will thoroughly check things out to make sure that you won't have more problems down the road.