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Feb 12, 2017

How To Know If You Have A Coolant Leak

Posted By in Engine Repair | No Comments »

If you own a vehicle for long enough, chances are you are going to experience a leaking radiator at some point. This is a very common problem and an important one to address, because keeping your engine cool affects the safety of your vehicle as well as its performance. Whenever the tubes that carry the coolant in the radiator become damaged, leaks can occur. It’s often hard to tell whether there is a leak or not, and leaks can take some time before they really become obvious. Here are some signs to look for if you think you may have a coolant leak.

How To Tell If You're Vehicle Is Leaking Coolant

A Drop in Coolant Levels

Your coolant is what allows your car’s radiator to absorb excess heat and energy from the engine. Over time, as you drive your car, your coolant levels will naturally drop and you should top them up when that happens. However, if you notice drastic drops in your coolant, especially if you have just topped it up and the next day it has lost more than ten percent of the new coolant, chances are it’s because the tubes have become compromised and are leaking.

Engine Puddles

If you are leaking any fluids, you are most likely to notice after you have parked your vehicle for a period of time. Check underneath the engine for any fluid. If you spot a bright green puddle that appears slimy, that is a telltale sign that your radiator is leaking coolant. It’s toxic and harmful to the environment and should be dealt with immediately.

Corrosion or Discoloration

Coolant that has leaked out onto the radiator will cause discoloration and may also result in corrosive damage. It’s a good idea, if you think you might have a coolant leak, to examine the underside of the radiator for any such discoloration as well as adjacent engine parts. It’s often hard to spot which hose is leaking because they are often dirty so give the radiator and the tubes a clean first with water and then start the engine again so that you can find the source of the leak more easily.

Frequent Engine Overheating

As previously mentioned, your radiator is responsible for ensuring that your engine does not overheat. A constantly overheated engine, indicated by the engine light frequently showing up on your dash, or even smoke rising from the hood, could be an indicator that you are low on coolant, or completely dry due to a leak.

Keeping your car in good working order means sussing out problems and addressing them when you find them. It’s not always obvious that your vehicle is leaking coolant, but if you keep in mind the above potential sources, you can stop coolant leaks before they become major problems.


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