I Have an Antifreeze Leak in My Buick Park Avenue – Could It Be a Freeze Plug?

Reader Question I stumbled over your site looking for some auto advice. As did one of your other questioners, I accidentally put windshield washer fluid in the radiator overflow.

The wrinkle in my problem is that before we realized it, the engine blew a freeze plug. Lots of smoke and yellow and blue stuff running all over the driveway. It’s my 16-year-old daughter’s car (it was her grandpa’s 1983 2 door buick park avenue and she loves it).

It only has 66K miles, but we can’t afford an expensive auto repair. Any suggestions are welcomed. Her brother is a pretty talented backyard mechanic and is willing to help.

Hi there Sandy

First thing I highly recommend you do is have your mechanic do a simple and inexpensive cooling system pressure test to determine where the leak is coming from. You might have a leak someplace else, but is running down the freeze plug and on to the ground.

If the freeze plug is leaking or has a hole in it…you are going to have to replace it. The part is CHEAP, but getting the old one out and the new one in…..can be a HUGE pain in the butt. You just hammer in the new plug…..but getting to the hole, and getting a hammer in there is the tricky part. Cant be much more help…you need a new freeze plug.

Austin Davis

Reader follow up


Thanks so much for responding. To tell the truth, I really didn’t expect a response – but you really came through.

After my son did a little more inspecting through the smoke, it turned out that it wasn’t a freeze plug, but a very old (probably original equipment) heater hose that was gushing washer fluid directly over a freeze plug.

It probably drew it’s last breath when the bubbles from the windshield washer fluid hit it. Anyway, we replaced the heater hose, the ‘tank’ is better, and my daughter and her friends (who LOVE this car) breathed easier. Thanks again.


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