If a radiator cap goes bad, it can be replaced by most DIY-type individuals.
Remember never to remove a radiator cap while the engine is hot as the cap is under pressure, and boiling water can spray out.
Only remove the cap when the engine is cold.
What is the Function of a Radiator Cap?
It does this with a spring-loaded plunger or spring that has a set pressure point to give way.
When the pressure is released, water will spill out into the reserve or from the cap itself.
How to Tell If a Radiator Cap is Bad?
Sometimes the cap will only leak when the engine is hot, which indicates the pressure spring has failed.
The spring has a set pressure to release fluid; when a vehicle becomes too hot, if the spring fails, it may leak fluid.
Symptoms of a Bad Radiator Cap
As a cap ages, the spring that controls the pressure can release early, letting fluid spill out.
This can leave a vehicle low on fluid and lead to overheating, which in turn makes the cap leak out more.
Air also is let into the system, which passes air bubbles into the cooling system. Since air is not good at transferring heat quickly, a motor can overheat more easily when air bubbles are in the system.
Symptoms can include overheating, burnt stains around the cap, and loss of fluid.
How To Replace a Bad Radiator Cap
- The first step is to buy a new radiator cap from an auto part store or online.
- Be sure the engine has cooled down, and the cap is no longer under pressure.
- Remove the cap by pressing it down and turning it counter-clockwise.
- Match the old cap to the new cap making sure they are the same.
- Put the new cap on by matching the notches, pressing down, and turning it clockwise.
A bad radiator cap will not seal properly and can cause a leak.
When a cap goes bad, it usually will have rust or other discoloration.
Fluid also usually will leak out from around the cap, although in some cases, it could be the radiator.
If you think you have a bad radiator cap, it can be replaced by a DIY person.
Of course, if in doubt, be sure to take your vehicle to a professional.
Have you had issues with a bad radiator cap? Let us know your thought below.