A Minor Radiator Leak
courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man
My Saturn has a tiny leak between the radiator and the plastic tank. The repair shop says that Saturn designed this part such that the only way to fix it is to replace the entire radiator/tank assembly, as it comes as a single piece. The leak is very slow, and only requires more coolant with about every oil change - it doesn't even leave a spot on the driveway.
He then mentioned that I could dump about 1 shaker full of pepper into the coolant tank. He said that the tiny particles will find and plug the hole as the coolant tries to drain out and that it won't clog any other part of the radiator. He said that this was even safer than the commercial leak-stop liquids that contain copper bits that can destroy parts of the cooling system.
I'm wondering if this is a good idea. It seems risky, but I've dumped so much money into my '93 car that I'm sure something else will go wrong and I'd love to use the money on future problems instead of a new radiator. But, if the pepper clogs it, I'd have to replace it even sooner!
Well, the pepper trick is an old cure. There are commercial products that are very similar. Personally, I like the dry aluminum flake product. That product works well for very small pin hole type leaks.
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
Have a car care question? Visit our automotive maintenance section and see if we've already answered it or a similar question.