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How Tight Should a Radiator Cap Be?

Updated November 21, 2016

Radiator caps should be sealed strong and tight before operating. Radiators exert a lot of pressure when the fluid is heated. According to CarsDirect, failing to properly secure a radiator cap with ample physical pressure "can cause the vehicle to overheat" or even leak.

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Tighten Strong for Safety

Radiator caps should be sealed strong and tight before operating. Radiators exert a lot of pressure when the fluid is heated. According to CarsDirect, failing to properly secure a radiator cap with ample physical pressure "can cause the vehicle to overheat" or even leak.

Be Sure All Caps Fit

Radiator caps are designed to withstand different amounts of pressure--be sure yours is appropriate. Correct radiator cap pressure helps to maintain a balance of heat. If old caps are damaged they should be replaced. New radiator caps, states ArrowHeadRadiator, "must have the same pressure rating as the original."

Bottom Line

A radiator cap should be tightened with a maximum amount of physical pressure. If a radiator cap is not on strong enough it can cause fluid to leak. In order to avoid danger, be sure caps are pressure-rated specifically for your radiator. Check your owner's manual for details on pressure cap ratings.

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About the Author

Jeffery Keilholtz began writing in 2002. He has worked professionally in the humanities and social sciences and is an expert in dramatic arts and professional politics. Keilholtz is published in publications such as Raw Story and Z-Magazine, and also pens political commentary under a pseudonym, Maryann Mann. He holds a dual Associate of Arts in psychology and sociology from Frederick Community College.

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