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I’ve picked up a stone chip through my Honda VFR1200F’S radiator and I’ve just discovered that an OE replacement is £1097. What are my options for getting this small leak repaired? It’s also made me think that it wouldn’t be much fun getting stranded in the Alps on the big European tour I’ve got planned this summer. Is there a roadside repair kit I can keep in my luggage that will still allow me to get a permanent repair done when I get back to the UK? John Maidlow, Pinner
A Answered by Gavin Cooper, Aaron Radiators A stone chip will probably have damaged one of the tubes in the core and can be permanently repaired with some specific adhesive. You’d expect to pay around £100 including return delivery and we’d try and turn it around in a couple of days. Soldering isn’t possible because all bike radiators are made from an aluminium alloy that won’t take it.
If the bike has been dropped and the core is more heavily damaged or suffering from old age you are looking at a complete re-core, which typically starts at £300 with a 14-day turnaround from us. Stone guards and crash bungs go a long way towards protecting delicate radiators.
For a roadside repair kit carry some emery cloth and a two-part adhesive that ideally has at least 120°C temperature resistance, like Araldite Repair or Araldite Metal Repair. Gently push back the fins within 2mm of the hole, then rub down and clean and dry the area with the emery before putting a small blob of glue in place. Give it an hour and you should be safely back on the road.
‘You can refuse to attend the safety course but you could be charged’
I was riding along a country lane behind a car at about 30mph, the limit was 60mph. There was a straight section of road so I decided to overtake as there was no oncoming traffic. I passed the car and was about to pull back into the left-hand lane when another car pulled out of a layby on the other side of the road, clipping my bike and sending me flying.
The police now expect me to go on a Driver Improvement Course, stating that I was the cause of the accident because I overtook close to the layby. My view is that the driver did not look before pulling out. Do I have to go on the course, and also could I make a successful claim even if the police report says the accident is my fault? Jonny, Winchester A You are entitled to make a claim, irrespective of what the police report says. The police report may be used by the other party, but this is not a case in which I believe you should be accepting any liability assuming your manoeuvre had commenced before the car pulled out.
If successful you can expect compensation for injuries and any financial losses incurred.
Also, you are within your rights to refuse the safety course if you do not feel you were responsible. However, you may then be taken to court on a probable charge of careless driving. Whether you want to defend that and run the risk of being found guilty and receiving points and a fine is up to you.
Small stone chips in your radiator can be repaired