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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all, I'm needing some help. I'm new to the forum and new to trying to do all my own maintenance on my 2006 Kia Rio. I am trying to change the radiator fluid and when I went to unscrew what I am pretty positive is the plug under the radiator (phillips head screw right in the center of the radiator) my screwdriver stripped the head of the screw. So where there should be a nice "X" now there's a completely useless "O" so I can't get it off. The dang screw is made of plastic and just stripped away without any real force!

Is that the right screw? or do I need to remove any coverings under the car to get access to the plug? I apologize if my terminology is off or confusing, I don't really know what anything is called except for extremely basic stuff but I felt pretty confident I would be able to handle this task without any real difficulty. It seemed simple enough and by all means should have been but I didn't anticipate this...

Did I just screw myself by destroying the radiator plug or is the screw I stripped made of cheap weak plastic because it's not supposed to come off and I'm in the wrong spot?

Thanks for the help!
 

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99 Kia Elan 1.8L
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11,360 Posts
Welcome to the forum.

I'm not familiar with the Rio, but if the plug that you tried to remove is still secure, then leave it and just pull the lower hose to drain the fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Right on, good to know there's another way to drain the fluid. Now I just have to figure out where the lower hose is and how to remove it (I'm guessing it's got a normal clamp that I can use pliers to get off?)
Thanks for the reply and the welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Do I need a flush kit to drain the fluid from the lower hose? I'm also having difficulty finding where the lower hose is. Is there any diagrams or "how-to's" online that I might follow for how to do this?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I was able to drain the fluid from the lower hose. I have only so far been able to add a half gallon of Prime antifreeze/coolant and a half gallon of water. After adding the mixture to the overflow until it was full, I let the engine run for a bit and the level didn't go down at all. I added some more directly into the radiator thinking that might help it cycle through and let it run some more and drove about 15 miles to let it cycle through. Popped the hood and the level in the overflow had gone down between the low and full lines. I added some more into the overflow and directly into the radiator and drove it about another ten miles. (obviously I was letting it cool at least 20 minutes to about an hour before adding more.)
At this point I have gotten only a gallon total of the mixture so I have another gallon left that I think needs to go in but when I went to add more I opened the lid from the radiator and the antifreeze started expanding until it was about to start leaking if I didnt get the lid back on right away. I'm going to wait at least an hour before I try again because that was only after about 25 minutes of it cooling down but it seems like it's running just a little hotter than it was before.
whew! Sorry this is so long, does everything seem normal or did I do something wrong?
 

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2009 Rio5 :)
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I change my coolant differently than most but it is very effective.

1. Cold car-I remove the radiator cap
2. Start car
3. Watch in the radiator, when the thermostat opens you'll see your coolent level lower and coolent will start being pumped in like a little jet over the top of the radiator.
4. (I usually put a hard plastic kiddy pool under front end.) This is where it gets messy.
5. Add water from a water hose into the radiator. Let it overflow. Keep going until the overflow is a nice clear color, or slightly tented.
6. Turn car off. Allow to cool.
7. Unattach bottom hose. Allow to drain.
8. Reattach bottom hose and fill with your normal 50% coolent.
9. Fill the remainder with water, remember from the flush earlier that the engine was full of water, you emptied enough water from the bottom hose to allow the proper amount of your consentrated coolant. All other fluid contained in the engine is water.
10. Place cap back on, run engine till hot. (do not open radiator cap) Check levels visualally. add water if needed.
 

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Cerato S Hatch Auto
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Ditto. I've only ever drained the coolant by removing the hoses when the engine is warm (make sure the heater is set to "ON"). Flush with clean water, re-attach the hoses and run the engine. Repeat the process and then fill with coolant mixture. Top up after the engine has reached normal temperature (and cooled). Top up again after a couple of days.

It's unlikely that the plastic screw was a drain screw, however I do note that some radiator drains "screw in" to open. Some old BMC engines were like that.
 

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2007 Rio5, 2012 Sorento EX-V6
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113 Posts
Unfortunately, yes, that cheap crappy drain plug is plastic. Mine almost did the same thing, but I used an easy out to finally get it out. I replaced it and made sure to not over tighten it upon request-install. These cars do not take a lot of coolant to re-fill, I also was surprised by how little it took to refill.
 

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Rio 5 EX sport 2009
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WARNING:
To the ones leaving in Cold weather, the mixture should be 50/50, preferable to add coolant them water on toping up if the engine was rinsed with water.
 

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Kia Spectra
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Ripped Radiator drain plug repair

Many DIY'ers out there might have faced this problem with Kia's or other Philips Screw Slotted radiator drain plug. But there is a solution where you can fix your drain plug easily without damaging your plug/radiator in worst case, and if your plug is not in a bad shape you can reuse it and this can be a permanent fix.

All that you need for this job is a Philips screwdriver bit (size varies with the depth and diameter of the damage, make sure that at lease 3/4th length of the spline part is inserted into the hole), EPOXY glue which can bond metal and plastic and has temperature durability of at least 90 Deg F, and 60 Grit sand paper, Duck tape or masking tape ***NO Scotch tape***.

Procedure:
Step 1: First sand down the spline part of the Philips screwdriver bit with 60 grit sand paper not a lot but just make sure that you are reaching all the way to the bottom of the grooves (remember Epoxy bonds better if the surface is rough and has more surface area, that's the reason Philips screwdriver bit works better) now clean the metal and sanding dust.
Step 2: Prepare your EPOXY and Hardener mixture, if you don't know how epoxy works please look up online (I would suggest to use the epoxy with in 5 minutes once it's mixed with the hardener thoroughly).
Step 3: Apply generous amount of epoxy to the screwdriver bit and insert it into the damaged Radiator drain plug and held is secure with a piece of Duck or Masking tape and leave it until the specified time mentioned on your epoxy glue instructions. I would say at least 4 to 5 hours and if the temperature at your place is below 50 deg F, go for a drive until your engine reaches the optimum temperature (first 10-20 minutes after applying epoxy is crucial for it's durability).
Step 4: After the specified time you can remove the tape and use screwdriver handle to remove the drain plug.

CAUTION: Rule to loosen the drain plug, Imagine a screw in front of you if you turn the screw left it's loosening. If you turn the screw right it's tightening, in our case ruining the fix permanently.

Final Verdict: If you thing your screwdriver bit is holding the drain plug super tight then its job well done you don't need a replacement plug. If you think you still want to change the plug the only place where you can find a plug is at KIA dealership or online and do this before you drain the old coolant.

Hope this fix helps the age old problem of the DIY'ers with plastic drain plugs. Thank you!
 

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Kia 2011
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Solution to stripped drain plug (petcock)

Hello,

I experienced the same Issue on my car I stripped my drain plug (petcock) trying to drain fluid! Same problem my plug started out looking like X ended up looking like O.... Easy solution... I heated up the tip of flat head screw driver with a propane hand torch until it was glowing red than I pushed it into the face of plug half way up the tip of flat head (be careful don't push in to far) once pushed in I let it set for a minute or so the plastic would melt and a new indention would be made...IT WORKED FOR ME I WAS ABLE TO TAKE OUT PLUG AND PUT IT BACK IN THE NEW INDENTION SEEMS TO WORK VERY WELL!!!! Didn't have to buy a new plug, lol...


I posted a couple pics, hope it helps.......
 

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Rio 2011
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7 Posts
This also worked for me.

It is not necessary to buy a propane torch for this if you have a gas stove. I held a screwdriver blade (Goodwill - $1.29) in the blue flame of the stove for a few moments in dim light until I could see a little red glow and it easily melted a nice I into the O that used to be an X.

I was a little afraid I had gone too deep but it worked perfectly. My favorite new toy now.

Coolant flush not completed for me yet but at least I got this step.

Thanks!
 

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Rio 2011
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The method I used is the method in the reply, not the method in the original post (with epoxy. This also looks like genius to me). I am not used to using forums where I can't edit what I wrote after I submit it. I guess that is what the preview is for.
Happy Mechanic-ing, everyone.
 
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