Three Quick, But Temporary, Solutions For Stopping Radiator Leaks
Driving with a leaking radiator is dangerous because the engine can overheat and experience costly damages. You can easily get stranded if your radiator suddenly starts leaking far away from mechanics and their handy tools. Luckily, there are some quick fixes you can use to allow you drive to the nearest mechanic's place. Here are three such solutions:
The bubble gum solution works if you can spot the offending area. One way to do this is to pop up the hood and let the engine run warm so that you can identify the source of the leak. Next, chew a piece of gum until it gets soft and pack it into the leak area. Press it as firmly as possible for it to block the escaping fluid.
Once that is done, remove the radiator cap, close the hood and drive off. A closed radiator can build up enough pressure to dislodge the gum, so you need to drive without it until you can get to your destination or mechanic. Remember to take it slow so that the coolant doesn't slosh too much.
If the leak is small, then you can also plug it using pepper. You just need to add one or two tablespoons of everyday coarse ground pepper into your radiator. The grains of pepper travel to the pinhole leak and block it. You can do the same thing with egg white, which will travel to the offending hole, get cooked and plug it.
Only do this if it is the only solution available because the pepper can clog your radiator's cooling tube. It is also for the same reason that you shouldn't use too much pepper; if the leak is small, then the suggested amount should be enough to plug it; if it is big, then no amount of pepper will close it up. Drive slowly and head for a mechanic's shop like Marathon -Sleepy Hollow so that your radiator can be cleaned and professionally repaired.
If you don't have pepper, eggs or chewing gum, you can still repair your radiator if you have pliers in your toolbox. Identify the source of the leak, clear away the cooling fins surrounding it and cut the tube or tubes completely in half. After that, use your pliers to pinch and flatten the tubes near their respective ends. Once they are flat, fold each of the tubes over itself, pinch and squeeze again. Do that a couple of times or so and the leak will slow down enough for you to get to your destination.
Don't forget that these are temporary solutions; you still need to see your mechanic for a permanent and professional solution. Also, take care not to hurt yourself when handling the radiator if you have been driving for some time. It may be too hot to touch, in which case you need to let it cool down before you can proceed with the fix.