If you’re leaking antifreeze but not overheating, you still have a chance to repair your vehicle for a lower cost. If you continue to drive your car with low antifreeze your vehicle will eventually overheat. Overheating can cause more problems especially if you let it go too long and end end up cracking your block. Chances are you have either a radiator cap leak, internal coolant leak or an external coolant leak. Learn how to diagnose your antifreeze leak and learn what to do next.
The Purpose Of Your Vehicle’s Cooling System
A vehicle cooling system is crucial to your vehicle functioning properly, and when there is a leak in the coolant of your car it is going to affect its efficiency, and in general, the way that it performs, and it will gradually begin overheating. The purpose of the vehicles coolant system is to keep the engine from overheating, and this is done by the cooling system circulating through the engine through pipes and a radiator. When the vehicle is running the coolant, temperatures will rise gradually letting the coolant expand and moving the excess into the reservoir through rubber hoses. Moreover, if the system begins working improperly it is important to have it fixed as soon as you, but if keep letting it go you could be facing some expensive repairs. Don’t worry too much though, coolant leaks are one of the most common engine problems and can be fixed.
Identify the reason for your coolant to be leaking
It can be narrowed down to three common core reasons as to why the coolants leaks, with each of those reasons varying in other possibilities and also in the extent of the damage. If you have recently noticed an accumulation of coolant under your vehicle or that the reservoir tank is not as high up as it usually is, these could be signs that your system has a slow leak. Another sign of a leak would be if your vehicles engine suddenly overheats, sometimes there can even be a coolant smell if it is leaking. Finding out the type of leak your coolant system has is not that difficult, however, locating it can be more of a challenge. It would be wise for a person to take a look at the coolant reservoir tank every other time they put gasoline in their gas tank.
Antifreeze Leak Causes
Listed here are common causes for your coolant to be leaking:
1. Radiator cap leaks
If the radiator cap doesn’t no longer fits as it initially did or if it is weak and wore out it can cause loss of your systems coolant by way of the overflow tube, and it will happen every time you run the engine very long. The radiator was designed to be pressurized, so should the radiator cap fit incorrectly, improperly fitting, or maybe it is not the correct cap for your radiator, either way pressure will end up being lost and this let go very long could also create damage to a hose, causing even more repairs to be done. Having a pressure test performed on the radiator cap will help in diagnosing the problem.
Solution: Simply replace your radiator cap with one the fits correctly. You can find out in the vehicles manual what the proper cap is and what your pressure should be.
2. An internal leak
For starters, if it is an internal leak there will not be a pool of coolant under the vehicle, but rather, you will find yourself constantly having to put more water in the radiator as it quickly overheats and it either leaks out or evaporates. For internal coolant leaks you will need to look at the head (cylinder block), it could also be that you have a leaky head gasket, as this will let the coolant seep out.
Solution: Bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop for diagnosis unless you know how to disassemble your engine.
3. An external leak
The easiest to pin point what the problem is would be if it is an external leak. Usually, if you have a leak that is external, the vehicles coolant is going to escape rapidly allowing the vehicle to overheat quickly. You should be able to determine where the leak is just by observing. It may be a broken hose and/or a hole in the radiator.
Solution: Check your hoses to see if any coolant is coming out. Replace the hose(s) if you notice coolant coming out of them. If you notice coolant leaking out of your thermostat that can be an easy fix. It only costs about $10-$15 to replace a vehicles thermostat and is one of the easiest repairs you can do yourself. However, if the coolant is leaking from your water pump, that can get a little more expensive. Depending on your vehicle, you or an auto mechanic might need to buy a water pump replacement tool from the dealership to replace your water pump.
Other Antifreeze Leak Causes
Other things that can also let the coolant escape are the:
- heater core
- leaks in water pump
- engine freeze plugs
- bad thermostat
- crack in coolant resevoir
- hole in your radiator
- blown head gasket
- bad coolant hoses
However, these can also be easily diagnosed with a visual inspection. It could also turn out to be that the coolant reservoir has a crack. The coolant is part of the vehicles main system, it is what helps in keeping the vehicles engine cooled down and will more than likely not be what makes the vehicle overheat, this may however be the reason that after the vehicle has sit a very long time you see a pool of coolant under the vehicle.