How to Remove Freeze Plugs

The use of freeze plugs prevents antifreeze and water from freezing inside your engine, which could lead to a cracked engine head. The freeze plugs “pop” automatically if the temperature lowers and you haven’t driven your car for an extended period. Your engine is saved as a result, but you must get new freeze plugs before you can drive your automobile again.

How to Remove Freeze Plugs

Despite receiving little attention, the freeze or core plugs are an essential component of your car’s engine. Even though these plugs are capable of surviving hundreds of thousands of miles, they occasionally develop problems. You must be able to remove freeze plugs or core plugs at home in this situation.

Well, in this article, we’ll guide you on how you can remove the freeze plug. Even so, the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • What are freeze plugs?
  • Why would you want to remove a freeze plug?
  • What causes freeze plugs to fail?
  • How do you know if the freeze plug is bad?
  • How to remove freeze plugs?

Read more: How To Bleed Cooling System In A Car

Ok, let’s dive in!


What are freeze plugs?

Freeze plugs are metal plugs that are inserted into the cylinder head and engine block of an internal combustion engine. They are also referred to as expansion plugs or core plugs. They are made to seal up any openings left over from the engine’s casting process. Freeze plugs are designed to give expanding coolant a place to escape in the event of freezing temperatures, protecting the engine block.

Read more:  How much does an engine swap cost?

Why would you want to remove a freeze plug?

There are a few situations where removing a freeze plug might be necessary. Accessing internal engine parts for maintenance or repairs is one typical reason. It is possible to reach places like the camshaft, crankshaft, or piston assembly by removing freeze plugs. A freeze plug may also need to be removed in order to be replaced if it is broken or rusted.

Read more:  Common Ways To Make Your Car’s Exhaust Sound Louder

What causes freeze plugs to fail?

How to Remove Freeze Plugs

Several factors can cause freeze plugs to fail:

  • When the coolant in the engine block freezes, it expands and puts pressure on the freeze plugs. The plugs may dislodge or rupture as a result of this pressure over time.
  • Rust and corrosion can erode the freeze plugs’ metal, making them more prone to failure. Lack of regular coolant maintenance frequently results in the accumulation of impurities and acidity, which causes corrosion.
  • Long-term engine overheating can cause the freeze plugs to degrade. Overheating can weaken and corrode the metal, increasing the likelihood of failure.

Read more: How to Clean a Throttle Body

How do you know if the freeze plug is bad?

Several symptoms could point to a bad freeze plug:

  • A failed freeze plug may be the cause of any coolant leaks you observe from the engine block or cylinder head. Under the car or on the engine, the coolant may show up as a white residue.
  • Coolant loss due to a failing freeze plug can cause an engine to overheat. It can be a sign of a broken freeze plug if you observe your engine temperature indicator continuously climbing above the recommended levels.
  • Check the freeze plugs for any indications of rust or corrosion around them. Pitting or deterioration in the metal are indicators of impending failure.
  • A failing freeze plug can occasionally produce audible noises as coolant leaks and reacts with the heated engine parts. When the engine is running, you might hear this noise more loudly.

An engine’s casting passageways are sealed with metal plugs called freeze plugs. They may stop working as a result of freezing, rust, or engine overheating. Coolant leaking, engine overheating, visible rust or corrosion, and audible noises are all indications of a damaged freeze plug.

Read more:  How to Clean a Throttle Body

How to remove freeze plugs?

How to Remove Freeze Plugs

Removing freeze plugs requires careful steps to ensure the engine and surrounding components are not damaged. Here is a detailed guide on how to remove freeze plugs:

Note: Before beginning, make sure the engine is cool and drain the coolant to avoid any spills or burns.

  • Tools and materials needed:
  • Socket set
  • Screwdriver
  • Pry bar or seal puller
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Replacement freeze plugs
  • Freeze plug installation tool (optional)
  • Thread sealant (if applicable)

Read more: How To Test A Relay

Step 1: Locate the freeze plugs

Determine which freeze plugs should be removed. They normally sit on the cylinder head and engine block. If you are unclear about their precise placement, ask a professional or refer to the service manual for your car.

Step 2: Prepare the area

Make sure the workspace is tidy and clutter-free. Remove any brackets, hoses, or wire harnesses that could prevent you from accessing the freeze plugs.

Read more: How To Program A Car Key Chip

Step 3: Loosen surrounding components (if necessary)

If the freeze plug is located behind other components, you may need to loosen or remove them to gain proper access. Carefully disconnect any obstructive parts by using a socket set or the required tools.

Step 4: Create a small hole

Make a small hole in the center of the freeze plug carefully using a sharp screwdriver and a hammer or mallet. You can use this hole as leverage to remove it.

Step 5: Pry out the freeze plug

Insert a pry bar or seal puller into the hole you created and carefully pry the freeze plug outwards. To gradually remove the plug, apply even pressure and move around its circumference. Take care not to harm the engine block or any nearby components.

Read more:  How to Reset a Throttle Position Sensor

Step 6: Clean the area

After removing the freeze plug, look around for any debris, rust, or corrosion. With the use of a wire brush or other suitable cleaner, thoroughly clean the surface. Ensure the area is smooth and free from any obstructions.

Step 7: Install the new freeze plug

Apply a thin layer of thread sealant to the outer rim of the new freeze plug if specified by the manufacturer. Make sure the replacement freeze plug matches up with the surface of the engine block and is evenly seated before inserting it into the hole. Use a freeze plug installation tool if required to make sure the alignment and depth are correct.

Step 8: Secure the freeze plug

Tap the new freeze plug gently with a hammer or mallet until it is firmly in place. To protect the plug and the engine block, take care not to strike it too hard.

Read more: How to Prep Your Car for Long-Term Storage

Step 9: Repeat the process (if needed)

If you need to remove multiple freeze plugs, repeat steps 4 to 8 for each one.

Step 10: Reassemble and refill

Reattach any parts that were taken out or loosened after replacing all the appropriate freeze plugs. Fill the engine with the right amount of coolant, and then follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for system bleeding and checking coolant levels.

To prevent any engine damage, always remember to ask a professional mechanic for help if you are unsure or uncomfortable carrying out this task.

Read more: How To Bypass O2 Sensor


How do you replace a freeze plug?

Can you drive without a freeze plug?

Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to drive with a damaged freeze plug. Freeze plugs rarely break entirely or fall out, which results in sluggish leaks. You could drive your car with a leaky freeze plug as long as you maintain your engine coolant filled and your engine is never heated up, though we never advise it.

How do I know if my freeze plug is bad?

You most likely have a bad freeze plug if water or coolant is dripping from the side of your engine or between the engine and transmission. The hole in the freeze plug can occasionally be very small, and debris from the cooling system can occasionally block it.

Read more:  How to Remove a Stripped Oil Drain Plug

What causes a freeze plug?

The block of an engine could shatter if the coolant inside it freezes. When water freezes, it expands under pressure, which can result in cracks appearing. The expansion of the frozen water through the channels of freeze plugs stops this from happening.

What does a freeze plug look like?

A freeze plug, often referred to as an expansion plug, is normally a circular metal disc that is put into a hole in the engine block of a car. In order to protect the engine block from cracking, they are often composed of steel or brass and are intended to pop out if the coolant in the engine freezes.

Depending on the make and model of the car, freeze plugs can vary in size and shape, but they are typically flat and smooth on one side and have a raised lip on the other side to keep them firmly in place. Freeze plugs are flush with the engine block when placed, making them impossible to see without close inspection.

Read more:  Most Common Signs and Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket

How many freeze plugs does a car have?

Normally, the engine block is surrounded by eight steel freeze plugs that are evenly spaced apart. Freeze plugs that are leaking or have rusted are probably the result of acidic contamination in a poorly maintained cooling system.

Are freeze plugs easy to replace?

Although replacing freeze plugs is not difficult, accessing them while the engine is still in the car can be rather challenging. You might need to seek help from your neighborhood NAPA AutoCare Center if you can’t get the plug replaced in the automobile.

Read more: How to Remove a Stripped Oil Drain Plug

Why do freeze plugs fail?

Common causes of freeze plug leaks: Inadequate coolant: Weak, old, and low coolant ratios allowed the engine’s fluid to freeze, or nearly freeze, and expand, which broke the seal between the freeze plug and the block casting.

That is all for this article, in which we looked at how to remove a freeze plug. Even so, the answers to the following question have been discussed:

  • What are freeze plugs?
  • Why would you want to remove a freeze plug?
  • What causes freeze plugs to fail?
  • How do you know if the freeze plug is bad?
  • How to remove freeze plugs?

We hope it was helpful. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!