Freeze Plug Replacement (Steps and Costs)

Do you want to know how to perform a freeze plug replacement? If so, you are on the right page.

In most car or vehicle parts discussions, freeze plugs are not discussed, but they are a vital part of a vehicle.

Though they can run hundreds and thousands of miles, there are still possibilities of getting faulty. However, learning how to fix them is essential.

In the guide below, you’ll learn more about freeze plugs and their importance in vehicles. Also, we will be considering why they go bad and step-by-step instructions on how to replace freeze plug.

Freeze Plug Replacement (How to Replace Freeze Plug)

Freeze plugs, otherwise known as core plugs, prevent the water and antifreeze in your engine from freezing, which can lead to a crack in the engine head.

When the ambient temperature significantly drops, it will affect the fluids in your car, especially if they have not been driven or have been packed at a place for a long time.

When such situations occur, your freeze plugs “pop.” automatically, and by doing so, it protects the engine. However, before driving the car, ensure there is a freeze plug replacement.

Step 1

First, empty the vehicle antifreeze from the car to avoid spillage while removing the plug of the antifreeze. Next, slide beneath the car and set a container below the petcock. The petcock is the little valve found under the radiator, which has a handle.

Finally, close the petcock to enable you to drain the radiator, though the handle might be a little tight to unthread with your bare hands, so it’s advisable to do so with a pair of pliers.

Step 2

Take out everything obstructing the freeze plug. Though the vehicle you use will determine the type of parts, you may have to take out the alternator, exhaust manifold, or intake manifold.

Step 3

To get the freeze plug out, use a sharp punch on the side of the core plug. Then use a hammer to strike the punch lightly, and repeat this process a few more times to break it free. The aim is for the freeze plug to spin, be careful while doing this to avoid scratching the engine.

Step 4

Take out the core plug and gently use the pliers to secure the plug so that it won’t move inside the block’s coolant. If you find it challenging to take out the freeze, tilt the plug to a side and then take it out.

Step 5

Ensure that the hole from which the Freeze/Core plug came out is carefully cleaned with a rag and a degreaser because the new freeze core will need a clean place to seal appropriately. Therefore, ensure there is no grease in the hole.

Step 6

Install the new antifreeze inside the hole. Let a socket wrench like the plug be placed above the freeze/Core plug to safeguard it. Subtly hit the socket wrench with a hammer till the plug sits right with the engine.

Now all the components, once removed, should be put back reversely. When you’re sure everything is intact, endeavor to tighten the petcock. After that, apply the antifreeze you earlier drained out.

Check out this video for more tips on how to replace freeze plugs

What Are Freeze Plugs/Core Plugs?

Freeze plugs are a vital component of most automobiles. However, most motorists seem not to pay much attention to the freeze plug because it rarely goes bad.

After all, it is designed and produced to last with the vehicle’s life span. Still, that doesn’t make them indestructible, as a faulty freeze plug can permanently damage the engine if not fixed quickly.

These little plugs are cylindrical and occupy the engines’ passages made from sand cores. During engine manufacturing, little passages are created in the engine to give free access for cast removal.

In addition, these passages protect the engine from coolant leaks, so they have to be filled, providing room for freeze plug creation.

In the past, the combustion engine used water to reduce its temperature. Although this technique helped regulate the engine heat, the water took no time to freeze whenever the temperature dropped.

As a result, when the water in the engine freezes, the freeze plug instinctively protects the block by popping out.

Modern car engines are protected using a unique coolant, and fortunately, this coolant does not freeze, so the freeze plug has no excuse to “pop.”

Also Read: Freeze Plug (Everything To know)

Why Do Freeze Plugs Fail?

The primary reason for freeze plug failure is due to freezing. Should the water or coolant in the motor freeze, the plug pops out in defense of the block, and due to the water temperature, it expands.

The internal block pressure is the reason for the expansion. Therefore, the passages in the engine are expanded with every pop from the freeze plug.

When a core plug is faulty, there is a need for replacement because, with every pop from the engine, openings are made in the cooling system, resulting in leaks from the hole.

Also Read: Freeze Plug Leak (Causes & Fix)

Signs of Bad Freeze Plugs

Freeze Plug Replacement

The most noticeable sign of a faulty core plug is the coolant leaks from the vehicle. And any slight pop has already granted it access to leak.

This leak’s intensity depends on whether the plug is in its place or has ultimately come out. If only a small amount of drops are found, there must be a little gap.

How Prevent Damage to Freeze Plug

One of the best ways of keeping your freeze plugs in good condition is by applying the correct coolant to the system. Adding water beyond the level required to blend with the antifreeze is discouraged. Otherwise, the plug will be forced out, causing the water to freeze.

If you reside in a much colder climate, you’re advised to get an engine block heater.

The heater is connected with a 110-volt wire that gives your engine the required warmth to start effortlessly and maintain an excellent condition. It’s a fair price, whose average cost is $100-$400 for the labor and parts, but it sure will save you the stress in the long run.

Also Read: Car Leaking Antifreeze When Parked (Causes & Fixes)

Frequently Asked Questions – Freeze Plug Replacement

How Hard Is It To Change A Freeze Plugs?

Freeze plug installation can be a bit technical. While some are not hard to pull off, others are a hard nut to crack with a running engine. The damage is a result of the failure of these plugs to pop.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Freeze Plug Replaced?

Research shows that the cost of a readily accessible freeze plug would be within the range of $200 – $400. In contrast, a core plug whose transmission or engine demands the services of an automobile engineer will cost nothing less than $900 and can be above $1,800.

How Hard Is It To Replace A Freeze Plug?

Fixing back an existing freeze plug isn’t much of a task, but reaching it can be a little difficult, especially when the engine is inside the car. If you cannot put the plug back in its place, get the assistance of a professional mechanic.

How Long Does It Take To Replace A Freeze Plug?

The transmission removal and installation will require at least four men because the car, perhaps, is frozen for about 5hrs. Also, each freeze plug at the back of the vehicle has an hour of labor. So you should be expecting to consume about 6hrs on this project, including fluids and parts.

Do you Need To Replace Freeze Plugs?

Well, it is advisable to get it done after every sixty thousand miles of travel or three years of use (given the number of issues you experience with it). If the rust inhibitors aren’t in good shape, the engine block’s weakest link will be damaged by rust. The freeze/Core plugs provide space when the engine freezes, protecting the cracking of your block.

What Causes A Freeze Plug To Pop Out?

They happen to pop when the coolant in the car freezes up. However, the ideal term is a Core plug; that is how the sand core is gotten from the foundry after the block cast.

Where Is The Freeze Plug Located?

They can be found at the engine’s back, front and side. The back and front core plugs are easy to reach, whereas the rear core plugs aren’t so easily accessible. So when you experience one of those leaks, ensure the transmission is removed.

What Are The Signs Of A Blown Freeze Plug?

If your vehicle is down with damaged freeze/Core plugs, some of your vehicle’s coolant will leak. So even though there are no puddles under the car, you’ll still perceive it. And leaks associated with this leave a distinct smell.

Conclusion – Freeze Plug Replacement

Now you know how to perform a freeze plug replacement and how much a freeze plug replacement cost.

We hope this post was of help to you. Please feel free to check out our other blog articles if you want to get more tips for fixing and preventing car troubles!

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