Protect Your Engine by Buying the Right Freeze Plug
Freeze plugs are these round metal objects you see all around your car's engine block. They serve as covers to the engine block's holes and they also seal the engine's chamber. Once a freeze plug cracks under pressure or eventually wears out, coolant may start to leak, and the engine will begin to work heavily. If the leaking freeze plug continues to go unnoticed, the engine will already malfunction. Prevent this kind of situation, and look for a proper replacement immediately. This buying guide will help you out.
Steel vs. brass: the two different materials used in a freeze plug
Check out the two common types of freeze plugs below and some of their pros and cons:
- SteelA steel freeze plug can withstand high temperature from the engine block. Although a steel plug will most likely corrode compared to brass, this type of freeze plugs fits very well.
- BrassNon-corrosive unlike steel, a brass freeze plug can last for a long time. However, it is softer than a steel freeze plug. They tend to be undersized or loose, and they may seem unfit to the holes.
Cup type vs. expansion type: the two different freeze plug designs
Other than the type of material, the design of the freeze plug also varies. Read the differences between the two common designs below:
- Cup typeA cup type freeze plug is mostly preferred for street and race cars. The flange side is inserted to the engine block so the pressure is sealed inward.
- Expansion typeThis type of freeze plug is shaped like a cork and its designed with a screw in the middle to increase the sealing pressure of the plug. An expansion type is seldom used and rarely selected by most car owners.
Other useful tips
- Freeze plugs are sold either individually or by pack. It is strongly advised, however, that if you replace one worn out freeze plug, you must replace all.
- When you plan to replace your freeze plug, be ready to lubricate them with permatex, silicone ultrablack, or any recommended lubricant.
- Be cautious when you use a rubber freeze plug. High engine temperature will surely damage the material.
- Go for freeze plugs made by a reliable brand since these products usually come with a warranty. And since they're manufactured by a trustworthy label, you'll know you'll get a good deal for your money.
Install a New Freeze Plug and Put an End to That Leak
When the freeze plug is already leaking, you have to replace it immediately or the coolant inside the engine will slowly drain itself out. There is no other way around that problem than to install a new one. Read this guide to know how you can spare yourself from an engine nightmare.
Difficulty level: Difficult
- New freeze plugs
Note: This procedure begins with the engine block already removed and placed in an engine block cradle. It is extremely difficult to remove and install freeze plugs with the engine block still mounted inside the car. There are some freeze plugs located behind the flywheel, and some other parts that are extremely difficult to reach.
Step 1: Locate the freeze plugs that need to be replaced. Strike the edge of the freeze plug using the hammer and the punch. Continue until the freeze plug is already positioned vertically. Be careful when striking the punch because you might hit the engine block.
Step 2: Pull the current freeze plug using the pliers.
Step 3: Check the hole for dust and corrosion. Clean it by wiping the hole with the rag.
Step 4: Coat some sealant on the part of the freeze plug that will touch the engine block.
Step 5: Mount the freeze plug to the hole. Secure it using a seal driver if available. If not, you may use a socket with a considerable size that can push the freeze plug in. Do this same process for all remaining freeze plugs.
- If you are installing a brass freeze plug, use the right socket size to mount it in. Brass is a very soft and it will deform faster than steel.
- Don't use a sealant if you have rubber freeze plug. The sealant will only destroy the rubber.
- Remember, if you will be replacing just one rusty freeze plug, chances are, the condition is the same for each freeze plug. It is best to replace all.