Automotive Systems

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Cooling System Pressure Test

Cooling System Pressure Test

A cooling system pressure test is used to locate leaks quickly. Low air pressure is forced into the system, causing coolant to pour or drip from any leak in the system.

A pressure tester is a hand-operated air pump used to pressurize the system for leak detection. Install the pressure tester on the radiator filler neck. Then pump.the tester until the pressure gauge reads radiator cap pressure.


Do not pump to much pressure into the cooling system or part damage may result.

With pressure in the system, inspect all parts for coolant leakage. Check at all fittings, at gaskets, under the water pump, around the radiator, and at engine freeze (core) plugs. Once the leak is located, tighten, repair, or replace parts as needed A pressure test can also be applied to the radiator cap. The radiator pressure test measures cap-opening pressure and checks condition of the sealing washer. The cap is installed on the cooling system pressure tester.

Pump the tester to pressurize the cap. Watch the pressure gauge. The cap should release pressure at its rated pressure (pressure stamped on cap). It should also hold that pressure for a least 1 minute. If not, install a new cap.

Published by SweetHaven Publishing Services
Based upon a text provided by the U.S. Navy

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