Dealing with a Coolant Leak

Radiator Coolant LeaksIn the field of auto repair, professionals have seen it all. From landlocked technicians to mobile car repair specialists such as Dr. Diesel have dealt with numerous common problems. This includes starting issues, battery problems, and everything else in between. Car owners are often quick to have this fixed. Not everyone, however, take one problem seriously: that of a radiator coolant leak.

How Bad Can It Get?

You should know that a radiator should not be leaking coolant. It’s the engine’s cooling mechanism, after all, and any issues with its performance and reliability spell trouble for anyone.

Here’s an idea of how bad it can get. You’re driving down the freeway and you suddenly feel cold air through the heater. You notice that the temperature gauge goes erratic as well, so you pull up on the side of the road. After shutting down the engine and letting it cool down, you check the overflow bottle and notice that it’s empty. As a result, you add more coolant and think everything’s okay, but you feel that the engine cranks without actually doing work. 

Over time, things can get strange. One day, it will sound like not all of the engine’s cylinders are firing. The other, it runs much better despite coolant being drained again. After refilling, it runs like new. Some may think that this is due to a head gasket ‘not failing properly’ (however ironic it may sound). Experts claim that this is due to a possible coolant leak which saw the liquid seep into one or multiple cylinders. The reason why the engine doesn’t fire up fully is because some cylinders may still have coolant in them, keeping the fuel from burning.

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What Causes It?

Coolant leaks are commonly overlooked, when they shouldn’t be. Various reasons can cause a coolant leak. It might be due to a leaky radiator cap, which causes the drain of the overflow tube whenever the coolant is heated. Radiators are pressurised, and a loss of pressure due to an ill-fitting cap can lead to a leak. Another is a possible internal leak — the one described above. Internal leaks are easy to diagnose since the gauge shows its current level instantly. Lastly, there’s the external leak, which is the easiest of all to diagnose and fix.

 Should you identify a coolant leak in your car, don’t leave it be. Have a mechanic fix it before it’s too late.