Engine coolant leaks are incredibly important to recognize and should not be ignored. But how do you know if you have a coolant leak? Chances are your car is telling you in the form of a low coolant warning light, but what are other signs to recognize? Here’s how to recognize a coolant leak and some possibly solutions, because allowing your engine to overheat is one of the fastest ways to damage your car’s engine and end up with a very hefty repair bill.
Engine Coolant Leak: Symptoms & Solutions
Often an engine coolant leak can be hard to trace. You may notice a rising temperature gauge, a pool of coolant beneath your car, rust-colored stains in the engine bay or a drop in your radiator level. But what’s the root cause? Here are some tips on how to diagnose these symptoms as well as some possible solutions:
Leaks or Cracks in your Cooling System
- Symptoms: Your radiator (your car’s cooling system) is located at the front of your vehicle, so any coolant leaks will come from there. Engine coolant (aka antifreeze) comes in all colors (green, pink, yellow, blue, red or purple) so it can be difficult to identify. To determine which one your coolant system is using, check your coolant overflow tank to see what’s in your radiator. Coolant usually feels like water but has a sweet smell.
- Solutions: If you’ve determined the leak, depending on where it is – in your engine block or radiator – replacing these components can be costly. Luckily some leaks can be sealed from the inside out. There are some products that can be added to your coolant that use a chemical sealing agent that will block leaks in your engine block or radiator. Our team would be happy make a recommendation of a product if this viable solution for your coolant leak.
- Symptoms: One of the most common coolant leaks will occur in the hoses that connect your engine to your radiator or heater core, or the ones running coolant to different engine equipment.
- Solutions: Pop the hood of your car and figure out which hose is broken, then replace it. All of these hoses are easily accessible and inexpensive to fix. If you need help, schedule an appointment with our expert team.
- Symptoms: If your engine is overheating it might cause steam to come from under your car’s hood. If this happens, stop driving and turn the engine off, letting it cool down (usually takes about 30 minutes) to avoid further engine damage or burns to your hands. You might also hear a ticking or crackling noise as a result of the extreme heat that has built up.
- Solutions: Once the engine has cooled and you’ve checked your radiator and it looks empty or low due to a coolant leak, you can fill it with either or water. DO NOT pour cold water into a still-hot radiator because it could cause the engine block to crack due to the sudden change in temperature. Please note that this is only a temporary solution.
If you’re not accustomed to identifying leaks and poking around under the hood of your car or just want some help our team of experts are here for you. Our goal is to help diagnose your problem, offer a solution, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. Contact us to schedule an appointment: 916-721-7424.