So my brother borrows my civic, which had been sitting for a while. Evidently it was short on coolant, as it started to overheat on him. He fills it up with water and of course we get a 15 degree low over the weekend. Where should I be looking for problems?
well for starters, warm the car up for about 15-20 minutes. than take the rad out since it will still be frozen. pop the drain plug off the block and let it drain. then reinstall the plug. after that you want to take the rad inside overnight or just start running hot water through it in the tub or a basement sink. when you go to put the rad back in your going to want to fill the rad then pour some of the coolant/water mix through the heads water port to fill the block up again with coolant. more than likely if you dont do that your block will get fudged because the thermostat hasnt opened yet.
leaks will be the least of your worries. i just did this though as i had left the water from summer in my motor/rad and didn't change it because i didn't plan on driving the car at all this winter. mine was frozen just like yours and i did what i told you to do and i haven't had any issues yet. once you get it all changed out and let the car get up to operating temp you should be good. you may need to add a little more rad fluid though after a decent drive. maker sure your heater core is open all the way and on full blast to get the ice in it thawed lol.
Get the car into a heated garage and let it sit for a few hours/over night and once the coolant/water is no longer frozen, drain and fill with a 50/50 mix. Run the car and check for any obvious leaks or issues.
__________________ SpeedFactory Tuning and Race Fabrication 90 Ef Sedan
drained mine at 36*F outside! thanks guys I have the typical intake tab leak on the top of my radiator, I have been putting water in it all summer, just read this and changed it before it froze, if the radiator is frozen since the tanks are plastic look at all 90* bends and brackets, those are the weak points in the plastic, also check the tubes, and lastly the waterneck, if you want to see if its frozen take the cap off and start the car, check to see if you have any circulation in the top of the rad... oh, and check for leaks at the alum./plastic joints between the tanks and the core...
your block can crack even if you don't start the car, it's the expanding of the frozen water when it thaws that will crack it.
Remove all the coolant hoses, radiator, caps, drain plugs etc., so the coolant has somewhere to expand into. That's really your only option
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