I had a radiator leak after I had it flushed. Should I blame them?

I had my vehicle in for service last week and had some work done to it. One of them being a coolant flush. I then drove it about 500 miles on a road trip and I lost all the antifreeze and was stranded on the road. I could see it leaking at the hose connection at the engine. I'm not a car guy but I'm mechanically inclined so I bought a new hose and clamps. The clamp at the engine was rusty and there was no tension on it when I took it off and it broke. I think the hose was ok but I wasn't sure so I bough both. The antifreeze looked dirty also. I do service work so I know you cant predict everything. Should this have been caught? I assume the antifreeze is dirty from loosing up the dirt and rust in the system but should it all have been cleared out? What is your opinion? I don't want to cause a problem if there isn't one.

8 Answers

  • 3 weeks ago

    I would definitely get some violent friends together and go have a word with whoever 'serviced' it.

  • Bort
    Lv 6
    3 weeks ago

    Flushing a radiator process:

    1. Drain the radiator and coolant system fluid (there's a drain on the bottom of most radiators, it's a screw looking thing that looks like it has a wing nut kind of handle on it, it's technically called a petcock. The same kind of valve is usually on motorcycle's fuel control, they use them to turn the fuel on/off on motorcycles.

    2. Run another fluid through it. This is usually done with just plain old water from a garden hose.

    3. Refill it with the correct coolant.

    Flushing doesn't usually include dismantling anything. The other factor is that you said you drove it approximately 500 miles before discovering it was leaking. When a coolant system in a car is leaking 9 times out of 10 it's leaking pretty substantially fast and it's not going to go 500 miles before being completely out of fluid if it goes anywhere at all. So it's unlikely the shop is to blame.

    A point to consider: Hose clamps don't rust too badly too quickly as you described this one was. It might take years of being subject to being wet or in inclimant weather for them to be that rusty that they break when you try to loosen them.

    And that rusty, corroded hose clamp was probably the cause of the leak.

    It could have begun to fail during your 500 mile drive. That is most likely what happened. If a tech does work and takes pride in their work...in this situation if the tech saw a leak anywhere they would have likely said something and offered to repair the leak. If something's not leaking, even if it does have rusty clamps, it's not leaking = it doesn't need repair.

    Gotta have some faith the tech's did the best they could.

  • don r
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    They didn't properly flush it, they didn't tighten the clamp properly and they should have replaced the rusty and weak clamp. Antifreeze did not loosen up the dirt. The dirt should have all been drained and flushed out, since that's what you paid them to do Losing all the coolant risks severely damaging the engine..

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    They did not do the job. But, you paid for it. All mechanic & shops are licensed by your state. Complain to them (after you get your money back. You did, right?)

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  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    I would definitely find a new mechanic.

  • not
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    I'm sure their coolant flush includes some claim of inspecting the cooling system. So it seems they failed you.

     Did a mechanic do this service for you or some oddball at a lube shop? Even at a dealership it is common to have a clueless nobody service your car. Do be sure you have someone of skill working on your car if you expect to predict anything. 

    I would certainly contact them if it's a mechanic and ask how this happened. If it's a lube shop I'd call it a lesson learned.

    • Chad⚡️
      Lv 5
      3 weeks agoReport

      Sounds like a lube shop's work if you ask me. Those places love hiring degenerates with no common sense or proper training. 

  • If they had it in for a general service, they should have noticed that the hose clips were worn out.  If the coolant is dirty, it means that the system wasn't flushed properly.  I suggest you complain about both.  If you don't get a satisfactory response, put it down to experience and don't use them again.

  • Frank
    Lv 5
    3 weeks ago

    Well, if the anti-freeze is still dirty after only 500 miles, they probably didn’t even do the flush anyway. It’s not much you can do about it. Unless you watch someone doing it or have a videotape of them doing it, there’s no way to prove it one way or the other.

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