If you check the engine block, you will notice some holes on the side. These holes have metal plug with a disc shape. The plugs are known as freeze plug. They prevent coolant from leaking. Freeze plugs are also referred to as expansion plugs, engine block expansion plugs, frost plugs, core plugs or Welch plugs.
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Freeze plugs play a vital role in car maintenance, especially in warm climates.
Function of the freeze plugs
The engine block is made of sand, aluminum and iron. Sand forms the basic shape and passages. Molten iron is then poured on this cast to form the engine. It is no wonder the engine feels rough. It is the texture of sand used to make it. The sand is removed through holes after the engine has cooled off. The freeze plugs are plug into these holes. This is the real purpose of the expansion plugs.
Freeze plugs are designed to prevent frozen water from destroying the motor. Ideally, if your car cooling system uses water that does not have antifreeze the water will freeze. When it freezes, it can expand hence cracking the engine block. This is where freeze plugs come in. They pop up hence preventing the cracking.
These expansions plug also help to hold cylinders inside the cars firmly.
Problems with freeze plugs
A major problem with freeze pugs is that they rust. You see these plugs are made with thin metals. If you use water with antifreeze, you will not experience any problem. However, most people disregard this important precaution. As a result, rust occurs leading to leakage in the cooling system.
Signs of the freeze plugs
If the freeze plugs start to leak, it will need repairs or replacement. The action will depend on the severity of the damage.
If you are proficient with tools and auto parts, you don’t need a mechanic to do the repairs. Otherwise, you should contact your technical to do the repairs. In any case, you should seek an estimate from the mechanic.
Some expansion plugs are fairly easy to get to. Others may require removing parts of the engine or cooling system wholesome will require removing the entire engine or transmission. If you notice water leaking between the engine and radiator you probably have a bad expansion plug.
The leak can sometimes be diminutive and can stop now and then as a piece of crud block the hole. If the leak is small a block or stops seal compound can prove to be helpful.
One maintenance tip for freeze plugs involves maintaining your cooling system. Antifreeze contains properties which can cause rust in the freeze plugs. It is therefore advisable to change antifreeze after some time or use plain water.
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