The most common injury sustained when it comes to DIY car radiator inspections and service is upper extremity burns. Hands, fingers, palms, forearms, and more are all vulnerable to the strikingly intense burn that comes from boiling-hot car radiators and caps. The first thing to master before checking your own car radiator, is to avoid getting burned.
Here’s some tips on avoiding radiator burns:
⚙ Turn Off the Ignition and Wait for the Engine to Cool Completely
Just because the hood of a vehicle feels cool or slightly warm to the touch DOES NOT mean the radiator fluid inside is cool. If this liquid has not come down from its boiling temperatures yet, neither has the radiator.
⚙ Always Use a Rag or Burn-Resistant Glove
It is encouraged to use a rag, cloth, or burn-resistant glove even AFTER the engine has cooled down. As mentioned before, a seemingly cool vehicle may still pose a burn-threat underneath the hood. It is best to unscrew the radiator cap with some sort of skin protection, like a towel or glove. Remember the system is pressurized. It is better to be safe then screaming!
⚙ Always Tilt the Cap
When you are removing the cap to the radiator, be sure to always tilt the cap away from your face. This avoids getting sprayed in the face with any pressurized antifreeze that has worked its way up the system. Again, make sure the vehicle has cooled down before attempting to open the radiator cap!